NEW YORK, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. stock markets moved higher Wednesday as investors sorted through a slew of economic reports.
Reports from China and Europe showed business activity slowing. The service sector in China continued to grow but more slowly, with the Purchasing Managers' Index for services in China dropping to 53.7 in September from an August posting of 56.3.
In Europe, the service sector PMI came to 46.1 in September, a small improvement from August but still showing contraction, as numbers below 50 indicate business activity slowing down.
On the domestic front, Automatic Data Processing Inc. said 162,000 private sector jobs were added to the U.S. economy in September, a smaller job gain than August. ADP said 189,000 jobs were added in August, 12,000 fewer than initially announced.
In early afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was off earlier highs, adding 4.65 or 0.03 percent to 13,487.01. The Nasdaq composite index added 10.21 points or 0.33 percent to 3,130.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3.44 points or 0.24 percent to 1.449.19.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note was flat to yield 1.625 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2902 from Tuesday's $1.2919. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 78.5 yen from 78.18 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.45 percent, 39.18, to 8,746.87.
In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.28 percent, 16.36 points, to 5,825.81.
Private sector gained 162K jobs in Sept.
ROSELAND, N.J., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. said the U.S. economy added 162,000 non-farm private sector jobs August to September.
Gains beat economists' expectations for the fourth consecutive month. The consensus forecast called for a gain of 143,000 jobs.
While that may be pegged as good news -- data that beats expectations tends to nudge markets higher -- it was tempered by a downward revision of gains in August. ADP said there were 12,000 fewer jobs added to the economy in August than previously reported, bringing the August total down to 189,000.
ADP said service oriented firms added 144,000 jobs in September, a decline from the 175,000 added in August.
Goods-producing firms added 18,000 jobs in the month, 4,000 of those in manufacturing and 10,000 in construction.
Finance firms added 7,000 jobs, the 14th consecutive monthly gain for the sector.
Firms with fewer than 50 employees in July added 41,000 jobs, while companies with 51 to 499 employees added 64,000 jobs. Even larger firms added 17,000 jobs in the month, ADP said.
Ireland alone has positive PMI in eurozone
LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Research firm Markit Economics said Ireland was the only nation in the eurozone to show growing business activity in September.
The Purchasing Managers Index for Ireland came to 53 in September, Markit said.
With numbers above 50 indicating growth, even Germany's economy, the largest in Europe, showed a continuing slowdown. The PMI in Germany came to 49.2 in September, a four-month high, Markit said.
Ireland's PMI is a 17-month high, Markit said in a report that includes the final estimate of the combined manufacturing and service sector PMI for September for the 17-nation currency region.
Italy's PMI reached a 6-month high at 44.8, while the PMI in France registered 43.2, a 42-month low.
In Spain, which has the fourth-largest economy in Europe, the PMI came to 41.2, a four-month low.
For the region as a whole, the composite PMI and the service sector PMI were in step at 46.1. The previous estimate, called the flash estimate, had the composite PMI for the eurozone at 45.9, while the service sector estimate had been 46.
"It seems inevitable that the region will have fallen back into recession in the third quarter. After falling by 0.2 percent in the second quarter, a steeper fall in output is likely for the third quarter," said Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson.
"Although there were some signs of stabilization in Germany, any hopes for optimism that the current downturn has bottomed out are tempered by news of steepening rates of contraction in France and Spain, and an ongoing severe downturn in Italy," he said.
U.S. service sector picks up the pace
TEMPE, Ariz., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The pace of growth among U.S. service industries increased August to September, the Institute for Supply Management said Thursday.
The Purchasing Managers Index for non-manufacturing businesses has shown growth for 33 consecutive months with the PMI rising from 53.7 percent in August to 55.1 percent in September.
The index for new orders also showed growth for the 38th consecutive month and showed the pace of acceleration in September with the index at 57.7 percent, up from the August reading of 53.7 percent.
Numbers above 50 in the report indicate growth, while numbers below 50 indicate a contraction.
The Employment Index, which tracks the number of employees, fell, but remained positive, the index sliding from 53.8 percent to 51.1 percent in the month.
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