Stock Market Today: Stocks Gain as Yellen Addresses Monetary Policy

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were higher on Wednesday after jobs data painted a sunnier employment picture and positive economic data that pushed U.S. markets to new heights over Tuesday's session continued to provide underlying support. 

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen commented on monetary policy in a speech delivered to the International Monetary Fund in Washington. Yellen said current monetary policy would likely remain untouched even though "pockets of increased risk-taking" exist, instead preferring regulatory tools to promote financial stability. Investors were on high alert heading into the speech, eager to pick up hints on when U.S. interest rates will rise.

U.S. factory orders in May slipped 0.5%, a wider fall than the 0.3% drop economists expected. The decline ends three months of gains achieved since February. Orders for durable goods slipped 0.9%, while non-durable goods slid 0.2%.

Data from ADP data show higher-than-expected payroll growth in the private employment sector, up 281,000 jobs in June from 180,000 in May and above economists' estimates of 205,000. 

"The job market is steadily improving," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi wrote in a statement. "Judging from the job market, the economic recovery remains fully intact and is gaining momentum."

The official U.S. nonfarm payrolls report is due out Thursday, moved forward a day to account for the Independence Day holiday on Friday.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which flirted with the 17,000-level Tuesday, was up 0.06% to 16,965.67, while the S&P 500 gained 0.06% to 1,974.39 and Nasdaq added 0.08% to 4,462.18.

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