U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as data showed private-sector job creation while acquisition activity lifted sentiment.
Private employers created 201,000 jobs in March, according to ADP Employer Services, a rise that was in line with expectations.
The report by the payrolls processor is closely watched for insight into the health of the labor market, although it has little correlation with the government's broader non-farm payrolls report due on Friday.
Numbers like the ADP report is what we need for the market to break out of its current range. Hopefully it continues on Friday, said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc, an investment advisory firm, based in Toledo, Ohio.
In the latest of a string of large M&A moves, Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International on Tuesday
M&A activity has been very consistent over a broad array of sectors with incredible premiums, and that's one of the biggest catalysts for the market's rebound, Lancz said.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 54.91 points, or 0.45 percent, at 12,333.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 6.21 points, or 0.47 percent, at 1,325.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 10.73 points, or 0.39 percent, at 2,767.62.
Gains may be limited by uncertainties over Japan's nuclear power situation and civil unrest in oil-producing regions. Trading volume has been weak, with Monday and Tuesday posting the lowest and second lowest days of the year, respectively, suggesting shaky investor confidence before the quarter ends.
The S&P is currently up 4.9 percent in the first quarter, based on Tuesday's close.
Family Dollar Stores Inc
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)