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* Jan. private sector payroll rises more than expected
* U.S. services sector activity picks up in Jan -ISM
* Coty surges on profit, revenue beat
* Ford slumps after weak 2020 forecast
* Indexes up: Dow 1.21%, S&P 0.83%, Nasdaq 0.20% (Updates to early afternoon)
By Medha Singh
Feb 5 (Reuters) - Wall Street rallied for a third straight day on Wednesday after a clutch of positive data pointed to strength in the U.S. economy, but losses in Tesla shares pulled the Nasdaq off its record high.
Private-sector payrolls increased by 291,000 in January, the ADP National Employment Report showed, far above expectations of 156,000 job additions.
Meanwhile, data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed U.S. services sector activity picked up last month following an upbeat manufacturing report this week.
“The services numbers were blowout... The ADP numbers were more of a catch up, but it’s still a very strong and continued evidence that the labor market is incredibly strong,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Wall Street has more than recovered last week’s steep losses as global growth worries eased after China boosted liquidity to limit the economic impact of the virus outbreak.
The country’s central bank is likely to lower its key rate on Feb. 20, sources told Reuters, as the death toll from the epidemic climbs to nearly 500.
Earlier in the day, stock index futures got a boost after a report that a Zhejiang University team had found some drugs that could inhibit the coronavirus in vitro cell experiments.
However, the World Health Organization played it down, saying “there are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV (virus)”.
At 1:04 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.21% at 29,154.79.
The S&P 500 gained 0.83% to 3,325.07 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.20% at 9,486.59.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 3.9% gain in energy stocks, which tracked a jump in oil prices.
Among stocks, Tesla Inc dropped 17% after a six-day run that saw its shares surge about 60%.
Coty Inc jumped 12.7% as the cosmetics maker beat estimates for quarterly profit and revenue.
Ford Motor Co tumbled nearly 9.4% after the No. 2 U.S. automaker delivered a weaker-than-expected 2020 forecast.
The U.S. earnings season has reached the halfway mark, with corporate results largely beating Wall Street expectations.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.23-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.42-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 63 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 113 new highs and 19 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Anil D’Silva and Arun Koyyur)