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Dow Ends Up 500, or 2%, on Recovery Hopes, Fewer Job Losses

Stocks end higher as investors pin their hopes on a quick recovery from the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Stocks finished higher Wednesday, with the Nasdaq 100 nearing a record close, as investors pinned their hopes on a quick recovery from the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 527 points, or 2.05%, to 26,269, the S&P 500 rose 1.36% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.78%.

The Nasdaq 100, a collection of Nasdaq's largest non-financial companies, ended up 0.49% at 9,704, just shy of the record close 9,718.13 set on Feb. 19.

Investors again shook off sometimes violent mass protests across the United States over police brutality and testy relations between Washington and Beijing that some fear could derail the trade agreement between the world's two largest economies.

Data on U.S. private payrolls showed fewer job losses than expected. The U.S. private sector shed 2.76 million jobs in May, according to ADP, compared with expectations of 8.66 million.

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"In the context of the current environment, the status of private sector employment is better than many anticipated. In fact, with many businesses across the country reopening - labor watchers may optimistically be thinking that the worst is behind us," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade.

"Looking at the ADP trendline, this is one fundamental indicator with a seemingly V-shaped recovery - there still remains a lot of question marks, though. The world of work has structurally changed and it’s unclear if recent job losses are permanent or if there is hope of them returning. Further, as the hunt for a vaccine continues, this could have downstream effects on the economy and job market should a second wave of infections arise," he added.

Meanwhile, data on the services sector from the Institute for Supply Management showed a smaller-than-expected contraction. The ISM non-manufacturing index in May was 45.4 vs. 41.8 in April and higher than economists' expectations of 44.

On Tuesday, Wall Street extended gains for the third consecutive session. The S&P 500 rose 0.82% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 25,742, a gain of 267 points, or 1.05%.

“Despite several issues of importance - national riots, Chinese relations, an ongoing pandemic - the stock market is primarily focused on a single thing: the restart of U.S. and global economic activities,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group.