The latest data out Wednesday sent conflicting signals about the economy. Another strong gain in homebuilding pushed construction spending up for a third straight month, but manufacturing activity shrank for the second month in a row.
Also Wednesday, payroll provider ADP reported that U.S. businesses added 163,000 jobs in July, much more than the 120,000 predicted by analysts. The survey only tracks private-sector hiring, and can sometimes deviate sharply from the government's own calculations. The government reports its own July hiring numbers on Friday.