U.S. stocks advanced in early trade on Wednesday after ADP National Employment report showed that the private sector employment rose more than expected in February.
The S&P 500 Index gained 3.22 points, or 0.25 percent, to trade at 1,309.69 at 10:10 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 28.72 points, or 0.24 percent, to trade at 12,086.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.42 percent.
Employment in the US private sector rose more than expected in February, posting a gain for a fifth straight month. On seasonally adjusted basis, private-sector employment rose 217,000 in February, from upwardly revised gain of 189,000 in January, while economists estimated an increase by 175,000.
A significant part of employment growth in February came from the services sector, where jobs rose by 202,000, recording an increase for thirteen months in a row. Manufacturing sector posted a gain of 20,000 jobs, while the construction employment dropped by 9,000. However, jobs growth in financial services remained flat in the month.
Fears of a supply disruption arising from continued unrest in Libya have pushed up oil prices above $100/barrel, but a leading Libyan oil official warns they could spike even higher if there is no immediate resolution to the ongoing violence.
On the corporate front, MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) shares declined 3.48 percent. The company announced plans to offer 68.57 million shares to the public.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares advanced 3.85 percent. The company is in talks to dispose of its 35 percent stake in its Japanese joint venture with Softbank Corp., Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter. The talks focus on transferring its stake in Yahoo Japan Corp. to Softbank, confirming an earlier Reuters report.
Shares of Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE:TXN) advanced 3.37 percent after the company stock was upgraded to “overweight” rating from “neutral” rating at JPMorgan.
Crude oil futures gained 0.88 percent to $100.51/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.40 percent.
The euro gained 0.73 percent to 1.3877 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.20 percent against the greenback.
European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 13.76 points, DAX30 down by 43.22 points and CAC 40 down by 34.27 points.