By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks bounced back on Wednesday after five sessions of losses, following strong private sector jobs data and as deflation concerns in the euro zone were seen pushing the bloc’s central bank into action.
European shares ended up, though far from session highs, on bets the first negative inflation in the euro zone since 2009 would trigger a long-awaited move from the European Central Bank to basically begin to print money.
“The deflationary data suggested the ECB will be justified in doing more and that is probably what people are betting on right now,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
Further support for stocks came after data showed U.S. private employers added 241,000 jobs last month, more than the 226,000 expected, while the November number was revised to 227,000 from the previously reported 208,000.
“You can also attribute (higher equity prices) to prospects of continued growth in the U.S.,” said Jacobsen.
Non-farm payrolls estimates for December are at 240,000 according to a Reuters survey. The jobs report is due before Friday’s opening bell.
At 11:46 a.m. EST the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 123.52 points, or 0.71 percent, to 17,495.16, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 15.57 points, or 0.78 percent, to 2,018.18 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 39.38 points, or 0.86 percent, to 4,632.11.
Minutes from the most recent meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy-setting committee are due at 2:00 p.m. and traders will scan them for clues on the timing of an interest rate hike. The Fed said it would take a “patient” approach in deciding when to lift borrowing costs.
The S&P 500 <.SPX> had fallen for a fifth straight session on Tuesday, for its longest losing streak in 13 months, as oil prices tumbled further and data showed slower growth in the U.S. services sector in December.
Brent crude futures <LCOc1> fell as much as 2.8 percent on Wednesday and were last down 0.6 percent on the day. U.S. crude <CLc1>, down 2.3 percent at its session low, was recently up 1 percent at $ 48.40 per barrel.
J.C. Penney <JCP.N> shares surged 18 percent to $ 7.74 after the department store operator said same-store sales rose 3.7 percent in November and December.
Micron Technology <MU.O> fell 1.6 percent to $ 32.36 after the memory chipmaker’s quarterly revenue forecast on Tuesday missed Wall Street’s expectations.
Monsanto <MON.N> reported a 34 percent drop in quarterly profit, but the decline was less steep than analysts expected and shares gained 1.5 percent to $ 117.50.
(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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