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 () closed up 78 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 ( ) jumped 9 points, or 0.7%. The Nasdaq ( ) 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.
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 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.
Netflix (reports that CEO Reed Hastings is seeking a partnership with a cable company, and has held meetings with several providers in recent days.) shares closed down, as investors shook off initial enthusiasm over
Children's Place Retail Stores () 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 ( ) ticked up 0.6%, the DAX ( ) in Germany added 0.7% and France's CAC 40 ( ) rose 0.6%.
|What we want Apple to unveil at WWDC|
|Millennials squeezed out of buying a home|
|7 traits the rich have in common|
|Big Data knows you're sick, tired and depressed|
|Your car is a giant computer - and it can be hacked|
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.64%||3.64%|
|15 yr fixed||2.76%||2.76%|
|30 yr refi||3.66%||3.69%|
|15 yr refi||2.79%||2.81%|
Today's featured rates: