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Posted: Wednesday, July 2nd 2014 at 4:27pm

Stocks hold at highs as hiring surges in June

By The Associated Press
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks held at record levels Wednesday following a report that business hiring surged in June, a promising sign for economic growth. The report comes a day after news of stronger manufacturing in the U.S. and China helped push the stock market to another all-time high.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard and Poor's 500 index was little changed at 1,973 as of 3:11 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,972. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow closed at all-time highs on Tuesday. The Nasdaq composite lost three points, less than 0.1 percent, to 4,454.

JOBS: ADP, a payroll processer, said businesses added 281,000 jobs last month, up from 179,000 in the previous month. The figure suggests the government's jobs report, due out Thursday, could also show a significant gain from May's tally of 217,000 jobs. The ADP survey only looks at the private sector, however, and often diverges from the government's more comprehensive report.

THE QUOTE: "The economy is on an upward trend and that bodes well for the stock market," said Ed Hyland, a global investment specialist at a JPMorgan Private Bank. "Corporate earnings will continue to grow as the economy grows."

BOTTOMS UP: Constellation Brands, the owner of the Corona and Negra Modelo beer brands, jumped $2.29, or 2.6 percent, to $90.67 after the company said its fiscal first-quarter net income soared. The earnings exceed the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

HITTING TURBULENCE: Delta Air Lines dropped $2.15, or 5.3 percent, to $38.17 after the company said that growth in a key revenue figure slowed in June. Delta said revenue per passenger fell on international routes because of a dip in business travel to Latin America during the World Cup soccer tournament and more passenger-carrying capacity among all airlines.

BUYBACK PUSH: Monsanto rose $2.75, or 2.2 percent, to $127 after the company said late Tuesday that it had entered into an "accelerated share repurchase" agreement with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. Under the terms of the agreement the company will buy $6 billion of its own stock.

BANK BOUNCE: Bank of America rose 37 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $15.97 after analysts at Deutsche Bank raised their rating on the stock, saying that many of the potential negatives for the stock have already been identified and priced in. Bond trading should pick up after a slump and more merger activity should also boost fees, the analysts said.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite to its price, rose to 2.62 percent from 2.57 on Tuesday. The price of oil dropped 86 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $104.48.
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