By Victor Reklaitis and Anora M. Gaudiano, MarketWatch
Tesla gains after Nomura's upbeat take, while Mylan gets a big lift from an FDA OK
U.S. stocks posted modest gains Wednesday, extending their recent streak of advances that's taken all major benchmarks to record levels.
What stock benchmarks are doing
The S&P 500 ended at a record, rising for a seventh consecutive session. The benchmark index rose 3.16 points, or 0.1%, to 2,537.74, with six of its 11 main sectors closing in positive territory. Utilities and real estate shares led the gains, while the financials and technology sectors remained under pressure.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high, as it eked out a small gain of 19.97 points, or 0.1%, to 22,661.57. The blue-chip index has advanced in each of the past six sessions. Nike Inc. (>> Nike) and Caterpillar Inc. (>> Caterpillar) led gains, rising 1.2% and 1%, respectively.
The Nasdaq Composite Index , meanwhile, advanced 2.91 points, or less than 0.1%, to 6,534.63, as gains were limited by a slump in technology shares. Shares of iPhone maker Apple Inc. (>> Apple) , the biggest component on the Nasdaq, closed 0.7% lower.
What could drive markets?
Private-sector employment slowed in September as firms added 135,000 jobs. The report comes ahead of the government's monthly release on nonfarm payrolls that is scheduled for Friday.
Markit's September figure for its services purchasing managers index dipped to 55.3 in September from 56 in August.
The comparable ISM report for the same month rose to 59.8, compared with 55.3 in the prior period and marked its highest level since mid-2005. A reading of 50 or greater indicates expansion.
What are strategists saying?
-- "Markets are back in positive territory on speculation that Jerome Powell may have a lead to get the chairmanship of the Fed. He is more or less aligned with the current chair Yellen and markets would like to keep that status quo," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist, at Prudential Financial.
-- "The S&P 500 posted its sixth consecutive day of gains [on Tuesday], continuing to benefit from positive short-term momentum. The breakout from September's consolidation phase refreshed the uptrend, and should help stave off a pullback until later this month," said Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at BTIG.
Which stocks are in focus?
Shares of electric-car maker Tesla Inc.(>> Tesla) rose nearly 2% to around $355 after Nomura analysts initiated coverage with a buy rating and price target of $500 .
Shares in Mylan NV(>> Mylan NV) surged 16% after the maker of generic drugs late Tuesday announced (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mylan-announces-us-fda-approval-of-first-generic-for-copaxone-40-mgml-3-times-a-week-and-may-be-eligible-for-180-day-exclusivity-300530551.html) that the Food and Drug Administration had approved its generic versions for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s Copaxone, a drug for people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Teva's stock (>> Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR)) fell 15%.
Amazon.com Inc.'s stock (>> Amazon.com) rose 0.9% even as a European Union regulator ordered the e-commerce giant to pay about $300 million in back taxes to Luxembourg. The order had been expected to come this week.
Office Depot Inc.(>> Office Depot Inc) plunged 18% after the retailer late Tuesday said it's lowering its 2017 profit guidance and plans to pay $1 billion for IT company CompuCom Systems Inc.
Shares in Verizon Communications Inc.(>> Verizon Communications) closed 0.1% higher even as the telecom announced late Tuesday that every Yahoo account was affected by a 2013 hack . Verizon completed its acquisition of ailing internet pioneer Yahoo in June.
What other assets are doing
European stocks closed mostly lower, with Spain's IBEX benchmark among the biggest losers after Catalonia's leaders reiterated their pledge to declare independence while King Felipe VI said they have "undermined harmony."
Asian markets largely closed with gains , as Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index flirted with a 10-year high but then pared gains.
Oil futures and the ICE U.S. Dollar Index pulled back, while gold futures advanced.