NEW YORK – Encouraging news about the U.S. jobs market trumped higher oil prices and worrying developments in Europe’s debt crisis on Wednesday.
Oil climbed above $102 a barrel for the first time in more than a year as the political turmoil in Egypt intensified, raising the risk of supply disruptions in the Suez Canal. In Europe, traders dumped Portuguese stocks and bonds as the country’s government teetered on the edge of collapse.
That news was offset by a brighter outlook on U.S. jobs ahead of Friday’s monthly employment report. The stock market opened lower, then drifted higher in late morning trading. By noon, indexes turned positive.
“The key takeaway is that jobs matter more than Egypt,” said Alec Young, a global equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. “Nothing is more important to the state of the economy than the jobs market.”
In the U.S., fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week and ADP, a payrolls processor, said businesses added 188,000 jobs last month, more than analysts had expected. The government’s broader monthly survey of U.S. employment is scheduled to be released Friday morning. Economists predict that employers added 165,000 jobs in June.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56.14 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 14,988.55.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,615.41. The Nasdaq composite gained 10.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,443.67.
Trading closed at 1 p.m. EDT ahead of the July 4th holiday Thursday. Regular trading will resume Friday.
In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.48 percent from Tuesday.
In Europe, stock markets slumped after the yield on Portugal’s benchmark 10-year bond surged almost a percentage point to 7.31 percent. Investors are worried about the future of the bailed-out country and its efforts to get a handle on its debt after two Cabinet members quit.
Germany’s DAX index fell 1 percent to 7,829 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 1.2 percent to 6,229.
The price of oil climbed $1.43, or 1.5 percent, to $101.03. Oil has climbed almost 8 percent since Monday of last week. The price of gold rose $8.50, or 0.7 percent, to close at $1,251.90.