Shares of industrial and transportation companies ticked up as traders positioned themselves for a moderation in interest rates.
The U.S. economy grew at a torrid 5.2% annual pace in the third quarter - faster than previously reported - but the surprisingly strong gain appears to have been a one-off.
Indeed, the U.S. economy slowed in early November while inflation also tapered off, according to the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" regional survey, suggesting the central bank could be finished raising interest rates if those trends continue.
"A Beige Book message underscoring a more muted economic backdrop agreed with markets," said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at brokerage LPL Financial.
General Motors plans to sharply increase cash return to shareholders, as Chief Executive Mary Barra seeks to reassure investors about the health of GM's core car-making business after setbacks in fledgling pursuits such as electric and driverless vehicles.
The United Auto Workers formally launched one of the largest organizing drives in its history with campaigns at 13 automakers, including Tesla and Toyota Motor in an effort to leverage record gains from its recent labor deals in Detroit.
Separately, Toyota divulged plans to sell about 125 million shares in its top auto-parts supplier Denso, a stake worth about $1.95 billion based on Denso's share price as of Wednesday's close.
Write to Rob Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires