Wall Street inched higher, touching fresh record highs, as better-than-expected data on US service industries underpinned optimism on the economic outlook.

An Institute for Supply Management report showed its non-manufacturing index climbed to 59.8 in September, the highest in 12 years and exceeding economists' expectations, up from 55.3 in August.

"The non-manufacturing sector has reflected strong growth in the month of September despite the impact on the supply chain from the recent hurricanes," Anthony Nieves, chair of the ISM survey committee, said in a statement.

Separately, the ADP employment report showed that US private payrolls increased by 135,000 in September, the lowest gain in 11 months and in line with economists' expectations, following a revised gain of 228,000 in August.


"Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hurt the job market in September," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement, Bloomberg reported.

Moody's produces the figures with ADP. "Looking through the storms the job market remains sturdy and strong."

Up next are reports on weekly jobless claims on Thursday and the government's non-farm payrolls on Friday.

In 2.31pm trading in New York, the Dow added 0.11 per cent.

However, the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.04 per cent. In 2.16pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.07 per cent.

The Dow climbed to a record 22,685.94, while the S&P 500 rose to a record 2,540.53, and the Nasdaq hit a record 6.546.46.

US President Donald Trump's advisers have given him a final list of people they're recommending as candidates to lead the Federal Reserve and have ended the search, Bloomberg reported, citing seven people familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied reports that he considered resigning, easing concern of further staff turnover in the Trump administration.


"The markets are going to breathe a sigh of relief that Tillerson is staying in office," John Brady, senior vice president at futures brokerage RJ O'Brien & Associates in Chicago, told Reuters. "The markets are going to grind a little bit higher."

The Dow rose as gains in shares of Nike and those of Caterpillar, both recently up 1.1 per cent, outweighed declines in shares of General Electric and those of Apple, recently down 1.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

Shares of PepsiCo seesawed after the company posted quarterly earnings that bettered expectations while sales disappointed.

"Overall, our businesses performed well in the third quarter in what continues to be a challenging environment," CEO Indra Nooyi said in a statement. "Each of our operating sectors delivered results in line with or ahead of our expectations, with the exception of North America Beverages (NAB) where revenues declined following two consecutive years of very strong third-quarter growth."

"Despite the challenges in our NAB business, the PepsiCo portfolio overall generated revenue, operating profit and earnings per share growth," Nooyi noted. "Although we have moderated our full-year organic revenue growth outlook, we are now on track to exceed the full-year earnings per share target we set at the beginning of the year."

The company's shares traded 0.1 per cent weaker at US$109.05 as of 3pm in New York after earlier falling as low as US$106.19 and rising as high as US$110.16.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 0.2 per cent decline from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index inched 0.01 lower, while France's CAC 40 Index slipped 0.08 per cent.

Germany's DAX Index rose 0.5 per cent.