U.S. stocks edged up higher on some positive jobs data and reassurance from the Federal Reserve that the economy is recovering.
However, any equity gains were capped by fears over the continued unrest in Libya and rising crude oil prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial average gained 8.78 points, or 0.07 percent, to 12,066.80. The S&P 500 Index rose 2.11 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,308.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 10.66 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,748.07.
Oil futures in New York climbed almost 3 percent to more than $102 per barrel – the highest since September 2008 -- on fears that Libyan turmoil will disrupt supply.
The ADP release showed a gain of 217,000 private sector jobs for February, much higher than expected. However, Challenger reported that rmployers announced plans to cut 50,702 jobs in February, a 32 percent increase over the prior month.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book revealed that manufacturers and retailers across all twelve of its districts are passing on rising commodity prices to consumers, but that the economy continues to grow moderately.
Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) jumped 3.29 percent on reports that the online portal company is in negotiations to sell its 30 percent stake in its Yahoo Japan venture.
Gold futures rose, and touched an intraday all-time high of $1,441 an ounce during the session, before settling at a new record sloe of almost $1,438 an ounce.
Bonds slipped as the 10-year yield on U.S. Treasury fell, moved up to 3.46 percent.