* Private firms add more jobs than expected in May
* Monthly jobs data for May expected on Friday
* Fed Governor Powell expects three rate hikes in 2017
* Palo Alto Networks rises after forecast beats expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.24 pct, S&P 0.39 pct, Nasdaq 0.46 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Sweta Singh and Tanya Agrawal
June 1 U.S. stocks were higher in late afternoon
trading on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hitting record
highs, as better-than-expected private sector hiring pointed to
strength in the labor market.
The ADP private sector employment report showed that 253,000
jobs were added in May, well above the 185,000 jobs estimated by
economists polled by Reuters.
The report acts as a precursor to the much-awaited nonfarm
payrolls data, due on Friday, that includes hiring in both
public and private sectors.
"The ADP numbers were good today and often times, but not
always, they are a good indication of the monthly jobs data,"
said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives
for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
Another report showed factory activity ticked up in May,
after slowing for two straight months, and suggested the economy
was regaining speed after struggling at the start of the year.
San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams
said on Wednesday that while he sees three interest rate hikes
this year as his baseline scenario, four rate increases would
also be appropriate if the economy got an unexpected boost.
Fed Governor Jerome Powell, an influential policymaker, told
CNBC that he expects three rate hikes this year.
Forecasts from Fed officials suggest that a median of two
more hikes are planned before the end of the year.
Traders priced in a 96 percent chance of a rate hike in the
upcoming Fed meeting on June 14, and a 50 percent chance of a
hike before the end of 2017, according to CME Group's FedWatch
At 12:33 p.m. ET (1633 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 50.22 points, or 0.24 percent, at
The S&P 500 was up 9.43 points, or 0.39 percent, at
2,421.23. It had hit a record of 2421.88.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.42 points, or 0.46
percent, at 6,226.94, slightly easing from its all-time high of
Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the
health and materials sectors leading the
Deere's shares were up 2.1 percent at $125.08 after
the farm and construction major said it would buy privately held
German road construction company Wirtgen Group for $5.2 billion,
Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell 6 percent to $17.67
after the company reported a steep fall in its quarterly
Palo Alto Networks jumped as much as 18 percent to
a more than four-month high of $139.97 after the cybersecurity
company's profit forecast topped expectations.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,261
to 589. On the Nasdaq, 2,101 issues rose and 669 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows.
(Reporting by Sweta Singh and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru;
Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Anil D'Silva)