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Good economic news lofts stocks to new highs

A Wall Street street sign near the New

A Wall Street street sign near the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Aug. 9, 2011. Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

A batch of good news on the economy Wednesday pushed the stock market to new highs.

At the close on Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index had gained 7.78 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,074.33. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 33.07 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,912.62. The Nasdaq composite climbed 18.66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,774.47.

Payroll processor ADP said that U.S. companies added 208,000 jobs in November, the third straight month that hiring has topped 200,000. A separate report showed that service sector activity climbed close to an eight-month high in November.

The reports were an encouraging sign before the government's monthly jobs survey is published on Friday.

After rebounding from a slump in mid-October, stocks have been gradually moving higher on optimism that the U.S. economy will continue to improve next year. Investors are also hopeful that actions by central banks outside overseas will help bolster global growth.

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