Stocks moved sharply higher at the start of trading on Wednesday, with the major averages moving back to the upside after ending the previous session modestly lower. The initial strength came as traders reacted to some better than expected employment data.

Before the open, ADP released a report showing that non-farm private employment fell by 491,000 jobs in April following a revised decrease of 708,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected a more substantial decrease of 645,000 jobs.

Banking stocks are helping to lead the way higher, as traders continue to shrug off reports that the government stress tests will show that several banks need to raise additional capital. Oil service, airline, and gold stocks are also seeing early strength.

In the past few minutes, the major averages have edged down off their highs for the young session, although they remain firmly positive. The Dow is currently up 74.07 at 8,484.72, the Nasdaq is up 13.19 at 1,767.31 and the S&P 500 is up 10.25 at 914.05.

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