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Stocks rise on hiring survey; Apple climbs on better sales

Stocks are moving higher Wednesday morning after a survey showed private U.S. employers hired new workers at a faster pace in January, a sign that the economy could be getting stronger. Technology stocks are climbing after Apple said iPhone sales improved in its last quarter, which sent its stock to its highest price in more than a year. The market is building on a late surge a day earlier.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 81 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,945 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,285. The Nasdaq composite jumped 36 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,650. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,372.

Stocks rallied over the final two hours of trading Tuesday, and while that wasn’t enough to prevent the S&P 500 from falling for the fourth day in a row, it showed investors believed the market was not going to fall much further.

JOB GAINS: A survey by payroll services provider ADP said private employers added far more jobs than expected in January. The gain of 246,000 jobs was the most in a single month since June. The hiring was widespread, with the construction, manufacturing, health care and shipping industries all adding jobs at a solid pace. That was a positive sign for the health of the economy. Investors sold government bonds, which are fairly safe investments that are more in demand when the economy seems weaker. They also sold shares of companies that pay large dividends, which are considered similar to bonds.

The U.S. government will release its own monthly jobs report Friday.

APPLE POLISHED: Apple jumped to its highest price in a year and a half after it said consumers snapped up its new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus over the last three months. That ended the first-ever slump in iPhone sales, and Apple’s first-quarter results were stronger than analysts expected. Its stock rose $6.51, or 5.4 percent, to $127.86. The big gains for Apple, the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company, took technology stocks higher.

THE PITS: Mailing equipment and software company Pitney Bownes slid $2.19, or 13.8 percent, to $13.73 after its quarterly sales fell short of expectations and its profit forecast disappointed Wall Street.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.49 percent from 2.44 percent. Financial stocks rose, as higher interest rates allow banks to charge more money for lending. Lincoln National climbed $1.52, or 2.3 percent, to $69.03 and JPMorgan Chase rose $1.06, or 1.3 percent, to $85.69.

CURRENCIES: The dollar gained strength after the jobs survey. It rose to 113.65 yen from 112.76 yen. The euro fell to $1.0759 from $1.0803.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil added 44 cents to $53.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, gained 54 cents, or 1 percent, to $56.12 a barrel in London.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe got a boost from the ADP survey and a report that said manufacturing in China grew at its fastest pace in two years in January. Heavy government spending and more lending by banks helped keep economic activity steady. Germany’s DAX was up 1.6 percent while the CAC 40 of France rose 1.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain was 0.6 percent higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent after a skid on Tuesday. The Kospi in South Korea jumped 0.6 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent.

About Associated Press

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