NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging news about the U.S. jobs market trumped higher oil prices and worrying developments in Europe’s debt crisis on Wednesday.
Oil climbed above $102 a barrel for the first time in more than a year as the political turmoil in Egypt intensified, raising the risk of supply disruptions in the Suez Canal. In Europe, traders dumped Portuguese stocks and bonds as the country’s government teetered on the edge of collapse.
That news was offset though by a brighter outlook on U.S. jobs ahead of Friday’s monthly employment report. The stock market opened lower, then drifted higher in late morning trading. By noon, indexes turned positive.
“The key takeaway is that jobs matter more than Egypt,” said Alec Young, a global equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. “Nothing is more important to the state of the economy than the jobs market.”
In the U.S., fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week and ADP, a payrolls processor, said businesses added more jobs last month than analysts had expected. The government’s broader monthly survey of U.S. employment is scheduled to be released Friday morning. Economists predict that employers added 165,000 jobs in June.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56.14 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 14,988.55.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,615.41. The Nasdaq composite gained 10.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,443.67.
Trading closed at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time ahead of the July 4th holiday Thursday. Regular trading will resume Friday.
Investors will be watching the government’s jobs report closely in hopes of figuring out what the Federal Reserve will do next.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said June 19 that the central bank was considering easing back on its stimulus program later this year if the economy strengthens enough. The central bank is buying $85 billion in bonds every month to keep interest rates low and encourage spending.
The Fed may be forced to keep stimulating the economy because U.S. growth remains muted, said Derek Gabrielsen, a wealth advisor, at Strategic Wealth Partners. That will provide a boost to stocks.
“The schedule that (Bernanke) laid out is not going to be realized as quickly as he said,” Gabrielsen said. “I don’t think the economy can handle it.”
Payroll processing firm ADP said that U.S. employers added 188,000 jobs in June, more than the 155,000 forecast by economists. Also, the government’s weekly report on unemployment claims provided more evidence that layoffs remain low and job gains steady. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to 343,000.
In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.48 percent from Tuesday.
In Europe, stock markets slumped after the yield on Portugal’s benchmark 10-year bond surged almost a percentage point to 7.31 percent. Investors are worried about the future of the bailed-out country and its efforts to get a handle on its debt after two Cabinet members quit.
Germany’s DAX index fell 1 percent to 7,829 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 1.2 percent to 6,229.
The price of oil climbed $1.43, or 1.5 percent, to $101.03. Oil has climbed almost 8 percent since Monday last week. The price of gold rose $8.50, or 0.7 percent, to close at $1,251.90.
Among stocks making big moves:
— Alcoa fell 9 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $7.71 after the Citigroup analyst Brian Yu reduced his second-quarter and full-year profit predictions for the aluminum producer, citing low prices for the metal.
— AutoNation gained 71 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $45.27 after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the stock to “outperform” from “neutral,” citing a positive outlook for the company’s parts and servicing business.
— Mead Johnson fell $6.05, or 8.1 percent, to $68.85 adding to a 5.7 percent slump Tuesday. The Chinese government is investigating the nutritional products maker for possibly violating anti-monopoly laws in its pricing of infant formula, Bloomberg News reported yesterday.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A business fire shut down a section of Route 422 in Pennsylvania Wednesday evening.
A cold front will drop a little snow tonight. Very cold air is behind the front and Thursday's high temperature will be about 20 degrees colder than normal.
A Youngstown women's spiritual group held its annual Christmas celebration Wednesday.
Could the Affordable Care Act place a financial hardship on the men and women now risking their lives to keep us safe from fire?
Local clergy support Time magazine's choice in naming Pope Francis as its Person of the Year.
A group of Hubbard High School students spent the day Wednesday doing art projects with kids with developmental disabilities.
Local non-profits are teaming up with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport this week.
The ringing of the Salvation Army bell for the Red Kettle Campaign is a familiar sound November through December, but this year donors are slow to answer the call.
Two people were injured after a vehicle went off the road on Route 11 in Trumbull County.
A man accused of killing his girlfriend more than twenty years ago and found to be insane at the time of the murder is going to be re-evaluated.
A special religious event was held at Cardinal Mooney High School on Wednesday.
Scofflaws who run red lights in Pittsburgh will soon run the risk of being caught on camera.
A teenager has been charged in connection to an armed robbery and shooting outside of a beverage store in Warren.
One person was killed after crashing into a light pole in Youngstown.
A Boardman firefighter was treated for an injured ankle after battling a house fire Tuesday night.
UPDATE: Police have arrested a teenager in connection to a Sunday night shooting at a Warren convenience store that injured another teen.