Stocks Begin Higher on Upbeat Jobs Report

U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday after a report showed the private sector added more jobs than expected. The Dow industrials lately rose 27.55 points to 12,786.70. The S&P 500 added 3.64 points to 1,347.00. The Nasdaq Composite gained 14.29 points to 2,924.61.

U.S. private-employment growth is picking up, according to data released Wednesday that showed payrolls rose in February for the 25th month. Private-sector payrolls increased 216,000 on the month, led by the service-providing sector and small businesses, according to the February labor-market report from payrolls-processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. Over the last three months, gains have averaged 223,000, compared with a monthly average of 156,000 for 2011.

Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings has quietly met with some of the largest U.S. cable companies in recent weeks to discuss adding the online movie streaming service to their cable offerings, according to sources familiar with matter.

Thirty major holders of Greek government bonds said on Wednesday they will take part in the country’s debt swap, increasing chances of the deal going through. These bondholders represent 39.3 percent of the debt eligible for the exchange, or 81 billion euros (67.6 billion pounds).

Applications for U.S. home mortgages dipped last week as refinance demand sagged, though activity in home purchases picked up, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Gold shook off their previous session’s weakness to trade modestly higher, and crude-oil futures wavered between small gains and losses Wednesday. Gold for April delivery rose $2.20, or 0.1%, to $1,674.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude declined 2 cents to $104.67 a barrel on Nymex.

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