Stocks rise ahead of ECB decision

The S&P 500 has finished at a new record as stocks rose following a busy day of mixed economic data ahead of a closely-watched meeting of the European Central Bank.

At the closing bell, the broad-based S&P 500 rose 3.64 (0.18 per cent) to 1,927.88, nearly three points above Monday's record.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12.21 (0.07 per cent) to 16,734.55, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 17.56 (0.41 per cent) to 4,251.64.

US economic data releases showed a drop in new private-sector job creation but a big jump in services sector activity in May, and a surprising increase in the trade deficit in April

The US Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" said all 12 districts of the country saw increasing economic activity during most of April-May.

Investors are girding for the ECB to unveil major stimulus actions on Thursday. Analysts said there is a possibility the market will be disappointed if the measures are less aggressive than expected.

The ECB policy decision "has enormous implications for the direction of the market," said Jack Albin, chief investment officer at BOM Private Bank

"This could be a large event, or a large bust."