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Stocks close strongly on economic news, hope for Greece

Specialist Robert Tuccillo works at his post on

Specialist Robert Tuccillo works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks rose strongly Wednesday as investors seem to expect that Greece can find a way to remain in the eurozone. There was also strong economic news to cheer investors.

At the end of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 138.4 points, about 0.8 percent, at nearly 17,758. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 14.3 points, about 0.7 percent, to 2,077.4, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 26.3 points, about 0.5 percent, to 5,013.1.

HOPE FOR GREECE. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said late Wednesday that deal with lenders could be reached after Sunday's referendum, while blaming creditors for the country's bank closures. "This is a very dark moment for Europe," he said in an interview. "They have closed our banks for the sole purpose of blackmailing what? Getting a yes vote on an unsustainable solution that would be bad for Europe." Nevertheless, Varoufakis said the two sides remain "very close" on cost-cutting reforms.

HIRING ROBUST. U.S. businesses added jobs at a robust pace in June, a private survey found, evidence that rising consumer spending and a healthy housing market are supporting more hiring. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 237,000 jobs last month, up from 203,000 in May. That is the most since December, according to the ADP's tally.

MANUFACTURING UP. U.S. manufacturing growth improved in June, helped by a jump in employment. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, says that its manufacturing index rose to 53.5 last month from 52.8 in May. Manufacturing activity matched the high in January. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING. U.S. construction spending posted a solid gain in May, pushing total activity to the highest point since the fall of 2008, with the strength led by a big jump in nonresidential projects. The U.S. Commerce Department says that total construction spending increased 0.8 percent in May following an even bigger 2.1 percent advance in April. The gains pushed totaled activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.04 trillion, the best showing since October 2008.

AN ACQUISITION. Chubb Corp. of Warren, New Jersey, soared 32 percent after the insurance company agreed to be acquired by Ace for about $28 billion.

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