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|Retired US Army Staff Sgt David Bellavia (centre) rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honour for his heroism during the Second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)|
All three major indices shot to records, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending at 26,966.00, up 179.32 points (0.67 per cent).
The S&P 500 gained 22.81 points (0.77 per cent) to 2,995.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 61.14 points (0.75 per cent) to 8,170.23.
Markets closed early in anticipation of Thursday's Independence Day holiday and will reopen on Friday. Such holiday sessions typically see lower trading volumes, which can magnify market moves.
The records came as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note sagged below two percent, the latest retreat in the wake of commentary from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed officials that has opened the door to an interest rate cut as soon as this month.
Market expectations of a rate cut have grown in part due to weakening economic data that has been attributed in part to myriad trade conflicts.
Data on Wednesday showed US companies hired fewer employees than expected in June, while the US trade deficit hit a five-month high as imports from Mexico soared amid trade uncertainty.
US jobless claims fell modestly, while the crucial services sector expanded, but grew at the weakest pace in nearly two years as business activity, hiring and new orders all declined.
"Today's economic news was negative but the market is focused on the fact that the Fed will take a dovish stance at its next meeting," said Spartan Capital's Peter Cardillo.
A key report will come on Friday when the Labour Department releases estimates for June job growth. Analysts expect the US added 160,000 jobs and that unemployment held steady at 3.6 per cent.
Among individual companies, Tesla jumped 4.6 per cent after reporting that it delivered 95,200 vehicles in the second quarter, a record that was seen easing pressure on chief executive Elon Musk amid worries over the electric car maker's prospects.
Symantec surged 13.4 per cent after Bloomberg reported that the cybersecurity company is in advanced talks to be acquired by Broadcom. Broadcom dropped 3.5 per cent.