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Markets Right Now: Stocks at new highs following job gains

The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local):

4:00 p.m.

Stocks are closing at record highs as investors are encouraged by the latest sign that the job market is improving.

Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that private companies added more jobs last month than investors expected.

Banks and health care companies posted big gains. Wells Fargo rose 1.8 percent and UnitedHealth Group rose 2.5 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 18 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,430.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 135 points, or 0.7 percent, to 21,144. The Nasdaq composite climbed 48 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,246.

All three closed at all-time highs.

Small-company stocks rose more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index rose 25 points, or 1.9 percent, to 1,396.

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11:45 a.m.

The latest signal that the job market is improving sent stocks higher on Wall Street, putting major indexes on track for more record highs.

Payroll processor ADP said Thursday that private companies added 253,000 jobs last month, more than investors expected.

Materials and health care companies made some of the biggest gains. Eastman Chemical rose 2.1 percent and Vertex Pharmaceuticals rose 2.5 percent.

Discount store chain Dollar General rose 3.2 percent after reporting higher earnings than analysts were expecting.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,418.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,045. The Nasdaq composite climbed 19 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,217.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were both trading at record highs.

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9:35 a.m.

Stocks are rising after a survey showed that hiring by private businesses was stronger than expected in May.

ADP said Thursday that private companies added 253,000 jobs last month, which was more than investors expected.

Technology companies are making some of the largest gains. Palo Alto Networks soared 17 percent after a better-than-expected earnings report.

Discount store chain Dollar General rose 5 percent after it surpassed Wall Street’s expectations.

Farm equipment maker Deere gained 2 percent after it said it will buy road construction equipment maker Wirtgen Group for about $5.2 billion.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,413.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5 points to 21,003. The Nasdaq composite jumped 13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,211.

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