October 3, 2018 / 7:27 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St climbs as financials gain, but off earlier highs

* Dow hits record high

* Private payrolls rise more than expected in Sept

* Banks gains as ADP report boosts Treasury yields

* Dow up 0.21 pct, S&P 500 up 0.05 pct, Nasdaq up 0.30 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record high for a second day after economic data boosted Treasury yields and lifted financial stocks.

The ADP National Employment Report showed private payrolls jumped by 230,000 jobs in September, the largest gain since February, while a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed services sector activity hit a 21-year high in September.

The data helped yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note hit its highest level in over seven years at 3.179 percent and the two-year yield touched its highest level in more than a decade as expectations for a rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve in December firmed.

The rise in yields helped boost financials, which in turn put the S&P 500 within striking distance of a record. Financials were also aided by signs Italy would cut its budget deficit and lower its debt in the coming years, easing a concern that had pressured global stock markets.

Financials, which have underperformed the broader market this year, rose 0.78 percent, on track for their best day since Sept. 20.

"Yesterday you saw Treasuries rally based on a little bit of that fear from overseas but now you are seeing that balloon popping to go along with the numbers we have here," said Mark Kepner, equity trader at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

"The employment data was quite strong, the ADP report, that was definitely high on everybody’s radar as to what it is going to be on Friday."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56.05 points, or 0.21 percent, to 26,829.99, the S&P 500 gained 1.35 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,924.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.19 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,023.74.

Traders now see a 78.8 percent chance of a 25 basis point hike at the December meeting of the Fed, up from 77.4 percent a week ago, according to CME's FedWatch tool.

Utilities, off 1.80 percent and real estate , down 1.61, were leading the decliners, as higher bond yields made shares of high-dividend paying companies less attractive.

Major indexes had begun to lose steam heading into the latter stages of trading, however, and were well off their session highs.

General Motors rose 2.4 percent after Honda Motor said it would invest $2 billion over 12 years in the U.S. carmaker's Cruise self-driving unit.

Michael Kors rose 3.1 percent after Citi upgraded the stock on expectations its recent purchase of Italian fashion house Versace would boost performance.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.72-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and 14 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 37 new highs and 59 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Susan Thomas)

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