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US: Stocks rise on solid March hiring data

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose early Wednesday following solid US private-sector hiring data and better-than-expected earnings from Monsanto.

The gains came after payrolls firm ADP reported that US companies added 263,000 jobs in March, much better than expected. The figures came two days ahead of the closely-watched US government employment report.

Monsanto rose 1.4 per cent after reporting that second-quarter net income jumped 28.7 per cent to US$1.4 billion behind increased sales in seeds and in its herbicide and crop-protection business.

About 12 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,785.22, up 0.5 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to 2,368.71, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3 per cent to 5,916.14.

Panera Bread Company surged 13.6 per cent after the restaurant chain agreed to be acquired by investment firm JAB Holding for about US$7.5 billion.

Amazon rose 0.9 per cent following reports it sealed an agreement to stream 10 National Football League games on Thursdays nights for its Prime membership program.

Walgreens Boots Alliance lost 1.1 per cent after reporting second-quarter sales of US$29.4 billion, less than the US$30.2 billion expected by analysts.