August 4th, 2010
09:58 PM ET

Stocks rise; oil hovers at 3-month highs

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks edge up as jobs picture comes into focus

Stocks closed higher Wednesday, after trading in a narrow range for most of the day, as investors welcomed improved data on private sector hiring and the services industry.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44 points, or 0.4 percent. The S&P 500
index gained nearly 7 points, or 0.6 percent, and the Nasdaq composite added 20
points, or 0.9 percent.

Stocks were supported by a larger-than-expected gain in private sector payrolls, which tempered concerns about the job market ahead of a key report due Friday from the Labor Department. In addition, an industry report showed the services sector of the economy grew in July for the seventh month in a row.

Oil hovers at 3-month highs

Oil prices are on an upswing this week, hovering at three-month highs after surging past the $80-a-barrel mark on Monday.

Last week, prices drifted lower as ongoing worries about the pace of the economic recovery weighed on investors. But prices have turned around, rising more than 4 percent so far this week as some of these jitters ease.

Prices rallied to fresh three-month highs on Monday and Tuesday and held steady Wednesday after an inventory report from the Energy Information Administration showed a bigger than expected drop in crude inventory.

Treasurys down on better-than-expected data

Treasurys fell Wednesday after better-than-expected data showed that the service sector expanded and private sector payrolls increased for sixth straight month.

The benchmark 10-year note dropped 8/32 to 104-24/32, and its yield rose to 2.94 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 30-year bond fell 3/32 to 105-17/32 and its yield rose to 4.06 percent. The two-year note slipped 2/32 to 100-4/32, with a 0.57 percent yield, while the five-year note declined 10/32 to 100-20/32, with a lower 1.55 percent yield.

Demand safe haven appeal of U.S. debt fell as investors welcomed a report that said private-sector employers added jobs in July. Payroll processing firm Automatic Data Processing said private-sector employers added 42,000 jobs to their payrolls during the month, following an upwardly revised 19,000 increase in June. Economists surveyed by were only looking for employers to add 25,000 jobs during the month.

The reports come as investors await Friday's monthly jobs report from the Labor Department, one of the most closely watched indicators on Wall Street.

- reporters Ben Rooney, Blake Ellis and Annalyn Censky contributed to this report.

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