U.S. stocks mostly advanced on Wednesday, gaining for the first session in four, lifted by better-than-expected earnings from the technology sector and an upbeat report on the services industry.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index rose nearly 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,100. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 10 points to 17,540, while the Nasdaq (comp) added 34 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,140.
First Solar (FSLR) soared nearly 17 percent following news that the country's largest solar company turned in results that beat estimates and also raised its outlook for full-year profits. Revenue climbed 65 percent in the quarter thanks to more income from its Silver State South plant in Nevada and the sale of stakes in two projects.
Priceline Group (PCLN) climbed 5 percent after the online-booking service posted profit and revenue that easily beat analysts' forecasts, helped by rising reservations for hotel rooms and rental cars.
Payroll processor ADP reported that companies added 185,000 jobs in July, a drop from the previous month. Investors often look to the ADP survey for clues to the Labor Department's monthly report on the job market, which is due out on Friday. Economists forecast that it will show employers added 225,000 workers in July and that the unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent.
U.S. service providers expanded in July at the strongest rate in a decade, positioning the economy for more rapid growth. The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index jumped by 4.3 points to 60.3, the highest since August 2005, with the reading above expectations.
"Back in the day when U.S. growth was actually robust, a 60 print in the ISM services index historically equated to 5 percent GDP growth, according to ISM," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, wrote in an email. "That of course is no longer the case and a reminder that this figure measures the direction of change, not the degree."