Wall Street climbs after Feb payroll, services data

 @ibtimes
on March 03 2010 10:56 AM

U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday after separate reports showed private employers cut fewer jobs in February and the U.S. services sector grew at its fastest pace in more than two years.

The Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 53 in February, up from January and above the average estimate of economists.

Before the market open, the ADP Employment report showed U.S. private employers shed 20,000 jobs in February, matching the consensus estimate in a Reuters survey, and fewer than the 60,000 jobs cut in January.

Stocks also moved up early in the day after Greece's cabinet decided on budget-cutting measures worth $6.49 billion to ensure it reaches key fiscal goals this year. The country's debt crisis, and uncertainty over European Union financial support, has weighed on the euro currency and global markets in recent weeks.

We've been in rally mode again after a little bit of a pullback on the Greece news, said Richard Sparks, senior equities analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

So we're being greeted here with positive news, and that is being well received in the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 41.79 points, or 0.40 percent, to 10,447.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 4.81 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,123.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 7.23 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,288.02.

Merger activity continues to flourish, as Pfizer Inc is poised to present a nearly $4 billion offer for German generic-drug maker Ratiopharm GmbH this week, competing against rival bids from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Actavis, sources familiar with the situation said.

But Pfizer shares slipped 0.3 percent to $17.54 after the company said its Alzheimer's drug, Dimebon, being developed with Medivation Inc , did not meet co-primary or secondary endpoints in two Phase 3 studies.

Medivation shares plummeted 67.8 percent to $12.97.

At 2 p.m., the U.S. Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book measuring economic activity across its 12 districts.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

Share this article