US stocks close mostly higher to finish one of the strongest first halves of the year since 1998

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US stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday with weakness in tech stocks weighing on the Nasdaq. Wednesday marked the end of one of best first six months of the year for the S&P 500 since 1998, up 14% year-to-date.

Investors are now mulling how strong economic data will influence the Federal Reserve’s accommodative policy stance. Wednesday morning the ADP Employment report showed the US added 692,000 private payrolls in June, higher than the 600,000 expected. All eyes will be on to the Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls data for June set to be released on Friday.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:

One of busiest week for initial public offerings this year is underway, with Didi soaring as much as 28% in its public debut Wednesday. Didi is the largest public debut for a Chinese company since Alibaba in 2014. Meanwhile, shares of LegalZoom popped as much as 39% in the first day of trading while cybersecurity company SentinelOne popped as much as 30%.

There have been 209 IPOs priced this year, a 226.6% change from the same date last year, per Renaissance Capital.

Retail trading activity in the US has cooled from its pandemic peak but still makes up 10% of stock trading volume on the Russell 3000, a broad benchmark of US stocks, according to a recent note by Morgan Stanley.

Bitcoin slipped 4% to $34,727 as the cryptocurrency struggles to rally higher amid a crackdown in China. The coin is finishing the first half of 2021 up 18%.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.73%, to $73.52 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 0.49% to $75.13 per barrel.

Gold hovered around $1771 per ounce.

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