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US: Stocks rise ahead of February jobs report


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished higher Thursday following mostly solid US economic data on the eve of the eagerly anticipated February jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial advanced 44.58 points (0.26 per cent) to 16,843.90.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 6.95 (0.35 per cent) to 1,993.40, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 4.00 (0.09 per cent) at 4,707.42.

US data releases showed modestly slower services sector activity in February and a modest increase in industrial orders in January.

Initial jobless claims rose slightly last week, but remained at a low level.

"The market has been on hold most of the day, awaiting tomorrow's unemployment data," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

"It's basically a mixed-to-positive session." Friday's jobs report is expected to show the US economy added 190,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 per cent.


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