US stocks surge early after strong private payroll report


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are jumping Wednesday morning after a survey of private businesses showed that hiring was very strong last month. Panera Bread is climbing after the sandwich and soup chain agreed to be bought by European conglomerate JAB for more than $7 billion. Companies that are tightly linked to the performance of the economy, including transportation companies and smaller domestic firms, also rose.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 13 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,373 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 146 points, or 0.7 percent, to 20,835. The Nasdaq composite gained 26 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,924, above the record close it notched last week. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks jumped 11 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,379.

PAYROLLS: Payroll processor ADP said private U.S. businesses added 263,000 jobs in March, which was more than analysts expected. It was also the biggest one-month gain since December 2014. The U.S. government will release its own jobs report on Friday, and the strong ADP report suggests job growth may surpass the 178,000 jobs analysts expected.

PANERA BREAD RISING: Panera agreed to be acquired by JAB Holding of Europe for $315 a share. JAB has quietly become a rival to Starbucks in recent years as it owns, or has a large stake in, a series of brands that includes Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Panera stock has jumped on recent days thanks to rumors about a deal, and it rose $38.22, or 13.9 percent, to $312.22 Wednesday. The stock was trading at $230 a share a month ago.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 72 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.75 a barrel in New York. Brent, the international standard, gained 76 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $54.93 a barrel in London. Energy companies rose as well. Halliburton picked up $1.20, or 2.4 percent, to $50.75 and Chevron added $1.51, or 1.4 percent, to $110.17.

BONDS: Bond prices slipped and yields inched higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.37 percent from 2.36 percent. Banks moved higher after a recent slump. Citigroup rose $1.07, or 1.8 percent, to $60.75 and Bank of New York Mellon advanced 76 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $47.73.

GREEN SHOOTS: Agriculture products company Monsanto reported profit and sales that were far better than analysts expected. Monsanto said profits from its corn and soybean businesses grew in the fiscal second quarter. It also backed its forecasts for the year and said its sale to Bayer of Germany should close by the end of the year.

GREEN SHOOTS: Greenbrier, which makes railroad freight car equipment, announced a bigger profit and better sales than analysts expected. It also said rail traffic is growing and announced a $1 billion agreement with a key customer. Greenbrier stock climbed $4.35, or 10.1 percent, to $47.30. Other transportation companies also climbed in early trading. Railroad operator Union Pacific gained $1.97, or 1.8 percent, to $109.17. Among other industrial companies, Caterpillar rose $1.87, or 2 percent, to $96.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.39 yen from 110.65 yen. The euro fell to $1.0661 from $1.0670.

OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent and the FTSE 100 index in Britain gained 0.3 percent. The DAX in Germany fell 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.6 percent. The Kospi of South Korea finished little changed.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

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