Private sector jobs data lifts Dow


The Dow Jones industrial average rose 32 points to close on Wednesday at 11,722.8

A surprising jump in hiring sent bond prices lower and lifted the dollar on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged higher for the third day in a row.

A survey from payroll processor ADP found that private companies added 297,000 jobs last month, nearly triple the number that economists were expecting. The report is the first chance for investors to see how strong the job market was in December.

The next look comes on Friday morning when the Labour Department releases its monthly report on total US payrolls and the unemployment rate. Economists expect the rate will dip to 9.7% from 9.8%.

The unexpectedly high jobs survey from ADP suggests that the Labour Department report will also be strong. But economists cautioned against reading too much into the ADP figures, which also take into account weekly figures on claims for unemployment insurance, said Thomas Simons, market economist at Jefferies&Co.

“When the ADP number comes in strong, it doesn’t mean all the other labour reports will come in strong,” Simons said. “But it does show that the labour market is improving. You have to take all these numbers together and come up with a mosaic view.”

Signs that the economy is improving weakened demand for low-risk investments. Treasurys prices slid, pushing their yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.47%from 3.33% late on Tuesday. The yield helps set interest rates on many kinds of loans including mortgages.

The higher rates in the Treasury market helped push the dollar up against other currencies. The dollar rose 1% against an index of six other currencies.

The Dow gained 31.71 points, or 0.3%, to 11,722.8. The Standard&Poor’s 500 index rose 6.36, or 0.5%, to 1,276.56. The Nasdaq rose 20.95, or 0.8%, to 2,702.20.

Financial companies led the 10 groups that make up the S&P index with a 1.2% gain. Utilities did the worst, losing 0.6%.

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