Stocks Jump on High Volatility as Investors Await Payrolls Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. equity markets jumped Thursday afternoon on expectations that a jobs report tomorrow will bolster the Federal Reserve's position to maintain its bond-buying stimulus program.

Furthermore, the dollar fell sharply against a basket of major world currencies, fuelling positive sentiment for U.S. equities, as a weak dollar may translate into higher profits when they are repatriated to the U.S.

The S&P 500 gained 0.9% to close at 1,622.56 as volatility spiked.

"We're trading not on the fundamentals, but in anticipation as to what the payrolls number's going to be and whether or not we need more policy accommodation," said John Lynch, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank, which oversees $170 billion in assets.

The Labor Department is scheduled to publish its widely-followed government non-farm payrolls report. The department on Thursday reported initial claims of 346,000 in the week ended June 1, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 357,000 but slightly greater than the average analyst estimate of 345,000. The Challenger employment report said that monthly job cuts declined for the third straight month in May.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% to 15,040.62 while the Nasdaq advanced 0.7% to 3,424.05.

SodaStream International ( SODA) gained 2.7% to $71.24 after Israel's Calcalist financial newspaper reported that PepsiCo ( PEP) is negotiating to buy SodaStream for more than $2 billion. The report said PepsiCo could be willing to pay as much as $95 a share for SodaStream, which makes at-home carbonation systems. SodaStream went public in 2010.

PulteGroup, Inc. ( PHM) rose more than 4.7% to $21.10 after housing prices rose 12.1% in April, the largest gain in home prices since February of 2006. Pulte Group also released costs for their transition from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia, citing a better economic environment than Metro Detroit.

Periggo Company ( PRGO) gained 3.9% to close at $117.52. Perrigo benefitted from a New York Court of Appeals ruling allowing girls of any age to buy generic morning after pills without a prescription. While still awaiting a federal court decision, Perrigo was one of two companies to receive the new business.

J.M. Smucker ( SJM) slipped 3.9% to $98.38 after the food company reported quarterly revenue that fell 1% to $1.34 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $1.35 billion, as sales took a hit from price cutting.

/> Netflix ( NFLX) fell 2.56% to $217.74 after coming into competition in foreign markets. Netflix found it hard to compete with Swedish Modern Times Group AB's ( MTGBF) Viaplay, which offers live sports in addition to streamed shows and movies. Not only was the American company beat out in Sweden, it faced opposition in Eastern Europe as well.

Written by Robert Arenella in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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