Stocks on Wall Street Finally Rally

Updated from 4:15 p.m. EST

Stocks in New York closed higher Wednesday, despite foreboding unemployment numbers in the U.S., as an assist from China lifted the blue-chip indices off of multiyear lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 149.82 points, or 2.2%, to 6875.84, and the S&P 500 climbed 16.54 points, or 2.4%, to 712.87. The Nasdaq added 32.73 points, or 2.5%, to 1353.74.

Positive sentiment came after reports that the Chinese government will announce further stimulus measures, sending the Shanghai Composite Index higher by 6.1%, and after promising numbers on the Asian nation's economy.

The official purchasing managers' index rose to 49.0 in February from 45.3 in January, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. Although the index still indicates contraction, it's approaching the point, 50, of no change and is well above a record low of 38.8 last November.

Following the China news, the U.S. averages and industrial stocks climbed. Alcoa ( AA) and Caterpillar ( CAT) were the strongest components on the Dow, rising 12.8% and 13.2%, respectively.

The major indices were able to overlook a disappointing read on the morning's domestic economic data. Nonfarm private employment decreased by another 697,000 in February after declining 614,000 in January, according to estimates from private firm ADP.

That estimate, which exceeded expectations for a 630,000 drop, doesn't bode well for what could be the weakest jobs report of the recession thus far on Friday, says Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth. But there were some value shoppers in the market for the day at least after a fairly steep selloff, he says.

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