U.S. stocks climbed Wednesday building on big gains in Asia and Europe, but major indexes are still heading for their worst quarterly close in four years. Many stock benchmarks around the world have also lost ground in the third quarter, weighed down by weak growth in major economies and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average had gained 235.6  points, about 1.5 percent, to 16,284.7. The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped nearly 36 points, or nearly 2 percent, to 1,920.3. The Nasdaq composite climbed 102.8 points, or  2.3 percent, to 4,620.2.

About the same time, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil, which dipped earlier in the day, was up 14 cents at $45.37 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ANALYST'S OPINION: "I've been surprised we haven't had rallies like the one we're seeing now," said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors. After "so many negative days, you're going to get a bounceback."

BAD QUARTER: From worries over Greece's debt, a slowing Chinese economy, plunging emerging-market currencies and a scary slide in commodity prices, the U.S. stock market has been hit with one blow after another in the past three months. The Dow index has fallen 8.1 percent in that time. The S&P 500 is off 7.6 percent, heading for its worst quarterly close in four years.

The biggest S&P 500 losers: energy companies, down 19 percent, and raw-material suppliers, down 18 percent.

JOBS WATCH: Investors are waiting for jobs data out Friday for clues about when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. Policymakers have said they will likely raise rates before the end of the year. On Wednesday, U.S. payroll processor ADP reported that U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs this month, up from 180,000 in the previous month.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

ASIA'S DAY: The Nikkei 225 surged 2.7 percent on expectations of more monetary and fiscal stimulus following weakness in recent economic data. Domestic demand is tepid in the world's third-biggest economy and China's slowdown has crimped Japanese exports. China's Shanghai Composite Index was 0.5 percent higher; it has lost 29 percent in the past three months. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 2.1 percent. South Korea's stock market finished 1 percent higher.