Stocks gain in short preholiday session

Traders work on the floor of the New Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Tuesday. The United States is expected to release healthy numbers on jobs and business activity. (July 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Bloomberg News

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Encouraging news about the U.S. jobs market trumped higher oil prices and worrying developments in Europe's debt crisis Wednesday.

Oil climbed above $102 a barrel for the first time in more than a year as 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 wobbled.

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That news was offset though by a brighter outlook on U.S. jobs before Friday's monthly employment report. The stock market opened lower, then drifted higher in late morning trading. By noon indexes turned positive.

In the United States fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week and ADP, a payrolls processor, said businesses added more jobs last month than analysts had expected. The government's broader monthly survey of U.S. employment is scheduled to be released Friday morning.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56.14 points at 14,988.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.08 percent to 1,615.41. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.30 percent to 3,443.67.

Trading closed at 1 p.m. before the July Fourth holiday. Regular trading will resume Friday. -- AP

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