Goldilocks Returns to Wall Street

Stronger than expected growth in the service sector coupled with tame inflation gave investors hope Tuesday that the broader economy won’t follow manufacturing into a recession.

The national ISM services report came in at a much stronger-than-expected 58.9, and while third-quarter productivity was weaker than expected, tame wage growth in the report eased inflation fears and raised hope that the Fed may yet engineer a soft economic landing.

The news was good enough for another day of modest gains for stocks.

Comtech and Sycamore rose on their results.

MTM soared 61% on an IT services contract win.

Netlogic fell on a downgrade, while Priceline fell on news of more selling by Hutchison Whampoa .

Qualcomm gained 4% a day after the company made two acquisitions. PMC-Sierra was another rising on above-average volume.

The Nasdaq added 4 to 2452, the S&P 500 gained 5 to 1414, and the Dow rose 47 to 12,331. Volume declined to 2.76 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 2.08 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 16-15 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 49% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 547-12 on the NYSE, and 212-38 on the Nasdaq.

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