U.S. stocks traded higher in afternoon trading Wednesday as shares of tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) turned positive following two sessions of sharp losses. Meanwhile, investors weighed a mixed report that showed private sector job growth slowed in July, which could dampen the Federal Reserve’s prospects for raising interest rates in September
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 42.12 points, or 0.24 percent, to 17,592.81. The S&P 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) added 11.62 points, or 0.55 percent, to 2,104.87. And the Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 53.64 points, or 1.05 percent, to 5,159.24.
Nine out of the 10 S&P 500 sectors traded higher, led by a nearly 2 percent gain in information technology. The consumer discretionary sector was the only decliner, down 0.6 percent.
The Dow received a boost after shares of Apple rebounded and gained 2 percent, to trade as high as $118, after the stock tumbled below its 200-day moving average Monday for the first time since September 2013. The gains also helped boost the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite higher.
Meanwhile, shares of Dow component Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) was the biggest laggard in the index, plunging nearly 9 percent after the company missed revenue estimates a day earlier.
Shares of Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) rallied 4 percent higher a day after the company’s stock surged to close at a record high after the online movie streaming service confirmed plans to expand into Asia. Netflix also announced Wednesday it is offering “unlimited” paid parental leave for employees for a year.
Netflix, which has a market value of nearly $53 billion, is the best performer this year in the Nasdaq 100.
Shares of the company have gained more than 155 percent since January.
Data released Wednesday revealed private employers hired 185,000 workers last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed. The figure was below economists' forecasts for an increase of 215,000, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The report comes ahead of the U.S. government's highly-anticipated employment report Friday, which economists expect to show nonfarm payrolls increased 223,000 in July. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 5.3 percent.
Although job growth has averaged 208,000 per month in the first half of 2015, down somewhat from an average of 246,000 in all of 2014, economists are still optimistic about overall job growth in the U.S. labor market.
“This is still more than enough to keep up with underlying growth in the labor force, and thus the job market continues to absorb the slack remaining from the Great Recession,” Gus Faucher, senior macroeconomist at PNC, said in a research note Wednesday.