U.S. stocks rose Wednesday as technology companies traded higher for the second day in a row and consumer companies gained steam as cruise lines rose. The beleaguered financial sector recovered some of its losses from earlier this year.
Stocks started the day sharply higher, following a jump in European markets, although they returned some of those gains as the day wore on. Oil prices followed the same pattern and finished a few cents higher. Cruise lines rose after Carnival posted strong first-quarter results, and the dollar weakened further. Stocks are up about 7 percent this month, part of a rally that has canceled out their losses from a disastrous start to the year.
The& Dow& Jones industrial average rose 83.55 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,716.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 8.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,063.95. The Nasdaq composite index added 22.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,869.29.
Banks and insurance companies made the biggest gains. MetLife gained $2.27, or 5.3 percent, to $44.73 after the company successfully challenged its “too big to fail” designation. The Financial Stability Oversight Council had said MetLife needed greater government oversight because of its size and importance to the financial system, but the company took the council to court over that ruling. On Wednesday a judge ruled in its favor.
Fellow insurer AIG advanced $1.13, or 2.1 percent, to $54.52 and Prudential rose $1.43, or 2 percent, to $72.95. Banks also traded higher.
Apple led the gains among technology companies. Its stock rose $1.88, or 1.7 percent, to $109.56. The world’s largest publicly traded company is at its highest price since mid-December. Visa gained $1.40, or 1.9 percent, to $76.78.
U.S. companies added 200,000 jobs in March, according to a survey of private employers by ADP, a payroll processing company. The survey showed companies in construction, retail and shipping continued to bring on new workers, and it suggests hiring continues in the U.S. The federal government will release its monthly jobs report Friday.
U.S. crude rose four cents to $38.32 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 12 cents to $39.26 a barrel in London.
The dollar continued to weaken. The euro rose to $1.1333 from $1.1295 and the dollar fell to 112.47 yen from 112.75 yen. Bond prices slipped, returning some of Tuesday’s gains. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.83 percent from 1.80 percent.
France’s CAC-40 climbed 1.8 percent, while Germany’s DAX and the FTSE 100 in Britain each rose 1.6 percent. Asian stocks were mixed after the Asian Development Bank said economies in the region will grow at a slower pace in 2016 and 2017 because of reduced growth in China and a weak recovery in other major industrial economies. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.3 percent as the yen continued to strengthen. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 2.1 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.4 percent.
Gold fell $8.90 to $1,226.90 an ounce. Silver slipped two cents to $15.21 an ounce, while copper fell two cents to $2.19 a pound.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cent to $1.44 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $1.16 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 2 cents to $2 per 1,000 cubic feet.