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Dow Stays Perfect in 2011

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Stocks, the dollar and commodities rose Wednesday, while treasuries sold off, as better-than-expected reports on jobs and the service industry boosted recovery expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average stayed perfect in 2011, rising for a fourth consecutive session. The blue-chip index tacked on 32 points, or 0.3%, to close at 11,723, finishing just 20 points below its peak for the day. The S&P 500 added 6 points or 0.5%, to close at 1276 and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 21 points, or 0.8%, to settle at 2702.

Financials led stocks higher with Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan (JPM) and American Express (AXP) among the biggest percentage gainers in the Dow, which saw 18 of its 30 components move higher.

Walt Disney (DIS - Get Report) was another notable performer on the Dow, gaining 2.6% to $39.99 on a host of analyst upgrades .

Intel (INTC) , Home Depot (HD) and Travelers (TRV) were among the Dow's worst performers.

The dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies with the dollar index up by 1%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note weakened 1 5/32, lifting the yield to 3.481%.

Commodities bounced off early lows with the February crude oil contract rising 1% to settle at $90.30 a barrel after the Energy Department reported a greater than expected drawdown in crude oil inventories. The February gold contract shed $5.1 to $1373.7 an ounce.

The New York Stock Exchange saw volume of 555 million while 1.3 billion changed hands on the Nasdaq. Overall market breadth was slightly weighted to the positive with 54% of stocks on the NYSE advancing and 44% trading lower.

The latest jobs data from Automatic Data Processing fueled investor optimism ahead of the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. Also, Republican John Boehner took over as speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, raising hopes for a more business-friendly Congress.

ADP's employment change report showed that the private sector added 297,000 jobs in December , which was more than double the increase of 100,000 positions that economists had expected. In November, the ADP report showed growth of 92,000.

In addition, outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas said layoffs for the month fell to their lowest level since 1997 as job cuts of 32,004 in December represented a decline of 34% from November and a drop of 29% from the same month a year ago.
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