U.S. stocks kick off June with meager gains

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By Sue Chang

U.S. stocks eked out a gain Wednesday as investors focused on the positive aspects of the latest batch of data that showed the U.S. economy plodding along.
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a collection of anecdotes about the economy, indicated that most districts were seeing only moderate performance and that consumer spending and employment posted mostly modest growth.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index showed U.S. manufacturing expanded in May, but at a very slow pace that suggests the sector is unlikely to speed up soon. Construction spending tumbled in April, due in part to a decline in residential spending.

Meanwhile, U.S. auto sales slumped in May as fewer selling days in the month led to less foot traffic in showrooms.
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