Stocks Started Higher on Job Data

U.S. stocks started higher on Wednesday, as a modest rise in private-sector job creation emboldened investors. The Dow industrials lately climbed 123.66 points to 11,683.61. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 15.36 points to 1,228.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 27.01 points to 2,603.12.

Private-sector payrolls increased 91,000 in August, led by the service-producing sector and small businesses, according to the ADP employment report released Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 100,000 jobs. July’s private payrolls were revised down to an increase of 109,000 from the previously reported 114,000.

Applications for U.S. home mortgages tumbled last week as demand for refinancing sagged for the second week in a row, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, dropped 9.6 percent in the week ended Aug 26.

The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms declined 23 percent in August after rising for three straight months, with the government sector again leading the job cuts, a report showed on Wednesday. Employers announced 51,114 planned job cuts, down from 66,414 in July, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Planned cuts in July had marked a 16-month high.

Oil prices slipped below $88 a barrel on Wednesday after a report showed U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly jumped last week, a sign demand may be weakening. Benchmark oil for October delivery fell $1.16 to $87.74 by early afternoon European time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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