NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing with slight gains, edging the Standard & Poor's 500 index back to another all-time high.
Trading was muted after mediocre reports on the U.S. economy, including a pullback on hiring at private companies last month.
Protective Life jumped 18 percent on news that the company would be bought by a Japanese insurer.
The S&P 500 edged up three points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,927 Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,737. The Nasdaq composite rose 17 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,251.
The Nasdaq got a boost from Apple, its biggest component, which rose 1 percent.
Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.60 percent.