Stocks Finish Higher on Jobs, Greece, Possible Fed Aid
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks finished higher Wednesday following yesterday's worst plunge of the year, on the back of better-than-expected jobs data, news that the Fed may yet aid the economy and progress on Greece's debt restructuring.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 78.3 points, or 0.6%, at 12,837. The S&P 500 was up 9.3 points, or 0.7%, at 1353. The CBOE Volatility Index was down 6.6% at 19.49 after surging 16% in the previous session. Consumer cyclical stocks, financials and technology were among the biggest gainers in Wednesday's session. Utilities and non-cyclical consumer stocks have been the day's laggards.
The Nasdaq added 25.4 points, or 0.9%, at 2,936. Apple(AAPL) shares finished a touch higher, up 0.1%, after the company unveiled its new iPad. The latest model, which will be available March 16, will have a retina display, voice recording ability and an upgraded camera, among other features.
The first of a spate of U.S. job reports turned out better-than-expected Wednesday, with Automatic Data Processing reporting that private-sector jobs rose 216,000 in February, beating the expectation from analysts for a gain of 200,000 jobs, according to a Thomson Reuters poll. January's number meanwhile was upwardly revised to an addition of 173,000 jobs. The report is a precursor to the highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
The "ADP is telling us today that 200,000 should be expected on Friday, a rate of job growth sufficient to keep gross domestic product growing 2% to 2.5% and enough to keep more accommodation from the Fed a hope more than a reality," noted Eric Green, chief market economist at TD Securities.
In other U.S. economic news, the Labor Department said that nonfarm productivity was revised up to a 0.9% increase from the prior estimate of 0.7%.