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Stocks opened higher Wednesday as oil prices punched higher and March jobs data outpaced expectations broadly.

The Dow Jones industrial average scaled up 0.5%, the S&P 500 0.4% and the Nasdaq 0.3%. The Russell 2000 was down 0.1% in the early going.

Fed minutes due out this afternoon provide a centerpiece to the economic news on the stock market today. Oil prices were attracting early attention, as the May contract for West Texas Intermediate oil swung up more than 1% to above $51 a barrel — its first move back above $51 since a steep sell-off on March 8. The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases its weekly oil inventories report at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Early Movers: Goldman, Nike, Panera, Cypress, Mazor

JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) rose less than 1% on the Dow industrials. Apple (AAPL) dipped 0.1%, dropping on unconfirmed reports that the company would delay release of its new iPhone until October or November.

Panera Bread (PNRA) rolled up 13.5% after agreeing to a $7.5 billion takeover by privately held JAB. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. Panera was already extended above a 236.35 buy point from a four-weeks tight pattern.

Railcar maker Greenbrier Companies (GBX) lurched ahead 13% after reporting a strong fiscal second-quarter performance. The stock is forming a cup-type base with a 49.60 buy point.

Chipmaker Cypress Semiconductor (CY) rose 1% at the open. Shares of the supplier of USB connections and other components to Apple (AAPL) and Samsung on Tuesday are testing support at their 10-week moving average.

Mazor Robotics (MZOR) climbed 1%. The Israel-based maker of surgical guidance systems preannounced some first-quarter results, guiding revenue to well above the consensus expectation. Mazor cleared a cup base in March and is extended above buy points at 24.76, 25.51 and 26.65.

Jobs Surge In March; Up Next: Services PMI, Fed Minutes

U.S. private employers added 263,000 new jobs in March, according to ADP’s National Employment report. That was below February’s 298,000-job surge, but far above economist projections for 170,000 new hires.

Services sector employers added the bulk of the jobs, 181,000 new employees, but construction, manufacturing and mining also saw increased employment rates.

Services purchasing managers indexes for March are expected, from researcher Markit at 9:45 a.m. ET and from the Institute of Supply Management at 10 a.m. ET. The Fed releases minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s March 15 meeting at 2 p.m. ET.

Gold dipped 0.6% to near $1,251 an ounce. The dollar gained and the 10-year yield gained 1 basis point to trade at 2.37%.

Markets across Asia booked solid gains, led by the Shanghai Composite’s 1.5% leap. Markets were mixed in Europe, with Frankfurt’s DAX down 0.2% in afternoon trade and the FTSE 100 in London and Paris’ CAC 40 holding 0.2% gains.


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