Wall Street lingered near record highs as investors awaited the government's jobs report, due on Thursday, after stronger-than-expected private jobs data underpinned the view that the world's largest economy is in better shape than thought.
In the final hour of trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crept 0.07 per cent higher, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index eked out a 0.03 per cent gain. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.05 per cent lower. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 finished the previous day at record closing highs.
The Dow was mixed as gains in shares of shares of IBM and Pfizer, up 1.1 per cent and 1 per cent respectively, offset declines in shares of JPMorgan Chase and United Technologies, down 1 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively. JPMorgan slid a day after its CEO Jamie Dimon said he was diagnosed with curable throat cancer.
US companies added 281,000 workers to their payrolls in June, the most since November 2012, according to a report by the ADP Research Institute.
"This is further proof that recent weaker growth numbers are not a true reflection of the US economy," Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh, told Reuters.
Still investors were reluctant to place fresh bets before the government jobs report due on Thursday. Payrolls probably increased by 212,000 in June after rising by 217,000 the prior month, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
The solid ADP report lowered the appeal of US Treasuries, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond six basis points higher to 2.63 per cent.
"The bond market is telling you the economy is improving, but low levels of rates mean growth is still slow and inflation will not be a threat," Adrian Miller, director of fixed-income strategies at GMP Securities in New York, told Bloomberg News. "All eyes will be on the jobs report."
Another report showed US factory orders declined 0.5 per cent in May, following a revised 0.8 per cent increase in April.
Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech at a meeting hosted by the International Monetary Fund that she did not see the need for monetary policy to deviate from a primary focus on attaining price stability and maximum employment, in order to address financial stability concerns.
"That said, I do see pockets of increased risk-taking across the financial system, and an acceleration or broadening of these concerns could necessitate a more robust macroprudential approach," Yellen said.
"Monetary policy faces significant limitations as a tool to promote financial stability: Its effects on financial vulnerabilities, such as excessive leverage and maturity transformation, are not well understood and are less direct than a regulatory or supervisory approach; in addition, efforts to promote financial stability through adjustments in interest rates would increase the volatility of inflation and employment," according to Yellen.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 0.2 per cent gain from the previous close, as did the UK's FTSE 100. Germany's DAX rose 0.1 per cent. France's CAC 40 fell 0.4 per cent.
The European Central Bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate steady at a meeting on Thursday.