U.S. stock futures were powering higher Wednesday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's advance brought it back to about 3% from its Feb. 12 record high close and again in the green for 2020. Apple and Walmart were big winners, and both are up again in Wednesday's premarket. For the year, as of Tuesday's close, the Nasdaq was up 33% and the S&P 500 was up 9%.
Private payroll growth came in well below expectations for August, according to a report Wednesday from ADP, whose job tallies have differed widely from government data during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. companies added 428,000 jobs in August. ADP said last month that July private-sector jobs grew only 212,000, a fraction of what was expected. Two days later, the government said nonfarm payrolls in July increased by nearly 1.8 million.
Shares of Macy's rose 5% after the embattled retailer saw digital sales during the pandemic surge 53% in the second quarter. Macy's reported a smaller-than-expected loss of 81 cents per share on revenue of $3.56 billion, which also beat estimates. With some malls still on coronavirus lockdown during the quarter ended Aug. 1, Macy's same-store sales tumbled 35.1%. "We are encouraged by our second quarter performance; however, we continue to approach the back half of the year conservatively," Chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement.
It's unclear whether TikTok's algorithms for serving up videos will be part of the sale of its U.S. operations, according to The Wall Street Journal. ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of TikTok, is trying to get clarity on the Chinese government's newly amended rules on exporting technology. Last month, citing national security concerns, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business. ByteDance is expected to choose between a combined bid from Microsoft and Walmart and an offer from Oracle.
A day after the lowest new infections in more than two months of around 34,000, Tuesday's new cases were nearly 10,000 higher at over 43,000. Covid deaths on Tuesday spiked above 1,000 after four days below that level. While new cases are declining in summer hot spots in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida, infections are starting to increase in the Midwest. Top U.S. health officials said Tuesday that containing the coronavirus this fall starts with Americans acting responsibly over the long Labor Day weekend.
Continuing to hit law-and-order as a pillar of his reelection campaign, Trump blamed "domestic terror" for unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where protests against racial injustice erupted after the Aug. 23 shooting by a White police officer of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. In a visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, the president, without mentioning Blake, called violent demonstrations "anti-American." Pressed by reporters, Trump repeatedly pivoted away from questions about structural racism in the U.S., instead blasting what he described as anti-police rhetoric.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.