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U.S. stocks advanced, following the biggest decline in 2012 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after a private report showed American companies increased hiring and more investors signed on to a Greek debt swap.
Stocks rose as companies added 216,000 workers to their payrolls in February, according to data today from ADP Employer Services. The median projection of economists called for an advance of 215,000. A report later this week may show that payrolls increased by 210,000 last month after rising 243,000 in January.
Optimism about Greece’s debt swap helped lift stocks. Investors with 58 percent of the Greek bonds eligible for the nation’s debt swap have so far indicated they’ll participate. The goal of the exchange is to reduce the 206 billion euros of privately held Greek debt by 53.5 percent and turn the tide against the debt crisis that has roiled Europe for more than two years.
Equities extended gains as the Wall Street Journal reported that Fed officials are considering a bond-buying program designed to subdue worries about future inflation if they decide to take new steps to boost the economy in the months ahead. The Journal said the Fed would print new money to buy long-term mortgage or Treasury bonds but effectively tie up that money by borrowing it back for short periods at low rates.
Dow 12,835.44 +76.29 +0.60%, Nasdaq 2,939.75 +29.43 +1.01%, S&P 500 1,352.84 +9.48 +0.71%
The KBW Bank Index added 1.7 percent. Bank of America (ВАС) rose 2.3 percent to $7.89. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) advanced 1.6 percent to $39.96.
Caterpillar (САТ) advanced 2.1 percent to $108.20. United Technologies Corp. climbed 1.5 percent to $82.63.
General Electric Co. (GE) increased 2.1 percent to $18.81. The world’s biggest maker of jet engines, power generation equipment, health-care imaging equipment and locomotives reiterated its forecast of earnings growth of at least 10 percent from industrial and capital units this year.
Ciena Corp. surged 7.5 percent to $14.45. The maker of fiber-optic networking equipment estimates operating results to be stronger in the second half of 2012 than in the first half. JDS Uniphase Corp., the largest maker of fiber-optic testing equipment, added 3.2 percent to $12.89.
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. rose 5 percent to $15.35. The teen retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, excluding some items, matching the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey, and said it expects margin improvement this year.
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