US stocks were up more than 1 percent on Wednesday, rebounding from five straight sessions of losses after strong U.S. private sector jobs data and investor optimism for further stimulus action in the euro zone.
The market held gains after minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting kept intact views on when U.S. interest rates may rise.
According to minutes of the Fed’s December meeting, the central bank pressed ahead with plans to begin raising interest rates later this year despite an apparently vigorous debate over how to communicate its intentions.
At the same time, some investors are betting the first negative inflation in the euro zone since 2009 will trigger a long-awaited move from the European Central Bank to basically begin to print money.
The day’s gains follow the S&P 500’s longest losing streak in 13 months, when S&P 500 fell 4.2 percent over five sessions on concern over plunging oil prices and global economic weakness.
“Going into this year, sentiment got very much stretched. There was too much optimism, which means we were primed for a shakeout. The market was looking for a reason to kick out some of the weaker hands, and oil was that reason,” said Michael Mullaney, chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust Co in Boston.
At 3:11 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 189.38 points, or 1.09 percent, to 17,561.02, the S&P 500 gained 21.31 points, or 1.06 percent, to 2,023.92 and the Nasdaq Composite added 51.01 points, or 1.11 percent, to 4,643.75.
Homebuilders were among the day’s biggest gainers, with an index of housing shares up 2.5 percent, after a Bloomberg report that U.S. President Barack Obama was set to announce a reduction of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums.
Further support for stocks came after data showed U.S. private employers added 241,000 jobs last month, more than the 226,000 expected, while the November number was revised to 227,000 from the previously reported 208,000.
Non-farm payrolls estimates for December call for 240,000 new jobs, according to a Reuters survey, in the jobs report that is due before Friday’s opening bell.
Shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc were up 9.4 percent. People familiar with the matter said the company is holding early-stage conversations with a handful of buyout firms about going private.
J.C. Penney shares surged 18.8 percent, a day after the department store operator said same-store sales rose 3.7 percent in November and December.