Stocks ended June with another move higher, capping the best quarter for the major indexes in decades.
The S&P 500 was up 0.5 per cent on Wednesday, coming off the heels of a whiplash start to the year where its worst quarterly performance since 2008 gave way to its best quarter since 1998. But stocks in Europe and Asia were mixed after a mixed batch of reports underscored how fragile the recovery is.
Constellation Brands, which sells Corona beer, rose 7.7 per cent after it also reported stronger quarterly results than analysts had forecast.
Pfizer rose 4.3 per cent after it and German biotech company BioNTech announced encouraging, preliminary data on their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The surge in confirmed new cases, which has prompted the European Union to bar USA travellers from entry, is seeding doubts that the economic recovery can happen as quickly as markets had forecast.
In the United States, a report said that the manufacturing sector returned to growth last month, a better reading than the slight contraction that economists were expecting.
Data on Wednesday showed US private payrolls increased less than expected in June.
Earlier in the day, the monthly data published by the ADP revealed that the private sector employment in the U.S. increased by 2.36 million in June. The U.S. government's more comprehensive monthly jobs report will arrive Thursday.
In this May 15, 2019, file photo, a factory worker checks parts at a manufacturing plant for automobile air conditioners in Yantai in eastern China's Shandong province.
But in the world's second-largest economy, a separate survey showed China's manufacturing activity improved in June, adding to signs of a gradual recovery. In Europe, France's CAC 40 was virtually flat and Germany's DAX lost 0.2%. Britain's FTSE 100 was a tad higher at 6,170.51.
A similar survey for the 19-country eurozone showed an improvement in manufacturing in June, with the industry nearly growing again after widespread shutdowns.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped almost 0.8% to finish at 22,121.73.
Still, comments from Anthony Fauci, the USA government's top infectious diseases expert, who said there was no guarantee the U.S. will have an effective COVID-19 vaccine and warned the virus spread "could get very bad", were a reminder that a full economic recovery could be a long road.
The yield on the 10-year ticked up slightly to 0.658 percent, 0.022 points higher.
With California and Texas marking a record spike in cases on Monday, investors are counting on more stimulus to shore up the domestic economy.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 78 cents to $40.05 a barrel. Brent crude, the global standard, rose 1.5 per cent to $41.89.