Stocks rebound after worst loss of 2012

@CNNMoneyInvest March 7, 2012: 4:25 PM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday, a day after the biggest one-day sell-off of 2012, as investors were heartened by the latest economic reports.

A labor market report that signaled private sector hiring is picking up steam helped bolster sentiment.

Gas prices also declined for the second day in a row, after a long streak of continuing increases. The pullback is helping to ease some concerns over what higher gas prices could mean for the American consumer.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) closed up 78 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 (SPX) jumped 9 points, or 0.7%. The Nasdaq (COMP) jumped 25 points, or 0.9%.

Still, the gains were modest as investors wait to see what the deal between Greece and its private-sector bondholders will look like. Greece and its private bondholders must officially agree to a crucial restructuring of the nation's debt this week, in order for Greece to avoid defaulting on its debt.

"If something goes wrong with Greece's deal, I can say with total certainty that the market will react negatively," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "Today investors are saying what's the harm in waiting a day to see what's going to happen."

Meanwhile, investors are also waiting for Friday's release of the February jobs report to get a more detailed reading on the health of the U.S. economy.

Apple iPad event: Live blog

Separately, Apple unveiled details of the third version of its iPad at a presentation in San Francisco. Shares of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) are up 47% over the past year.

Stocks fell Tuesday as markets were under pressure from weak economic data out of Europe, and rising yields on euro-area government bonds -- all three indexes suffered their worst day in 2012.

Economy: Hiring in the private sector picked up in February, according to a report released Wednesday by payroll processor ADP. The private sector added 216,000 jobs in the month, which was roughly in line with forecasts.

A report on consumer credit for January was released. It show that credit grew by $17.8 billion for the month, beating expectations of a $12 billion increase.

Commodities: Oil for April delivery added $1.46 to $106.16 a barrel.

Gas prices: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Gas prices declined for the second day in a row, falling three-tenths of a cent to $3.76 a gallon, according to motorist group AAA. Gas prices are up 14.7% so far in 2012.

Gold futures for April delivery rose $11.80 to $1,683.90 an ounce.

The dollar was little changed against the euro and Japanese yen, but rose slightly versus the British pound.

Companies: Shares of online radio service Pandora (P) slumped more than 20%, after the company narrowly missed analyst expectations on quarterly earnings and revenue.

Netflix (NFLX) shares closed down, as investors shook off initial enthusiasm over reports that CEO Reed Hastings is seeking a partnership with a cable company, and has held meetings with several providers in recent days.

Sears CEO: Faring better than Sears

Children's Place Retail Stores (PLCE) shares closed down, after the company reported a miss on quarterly revenue. The company attributed the results to warmer-than-expected weather that forced sharp markdowns on winter apparel.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slipped, pushing the yield up to 1.975% from 1.94% late Tuesday.

World markets: European stocks closed higher. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) ticked up 0.6%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany added 0.7% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) rose 0.6%.

Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) dropped 0.7%, while the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong slipped 0.9% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) was off 0.7%. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 12:05pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
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