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Encouraging economic news sends US stocks higher
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks moved higher in afternoon trading on Wednesday as investors welcomed some encouraging economic news. Seven of the 10 industry sectors in the Standard and Poor's 500 index rose. The buying follows a rise in overseas markets amid hopes of a breakthrough in Greece's protracted discussions with its creditors.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,104 as of 2:47 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 index rose seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,116. The Nasdaq composite gained 27 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,103.

MORE JOBS: Payroll processor ADP reported that U.S. companies stepped up hiring in May. Businesses added 201,000 jobs last month, up from just 165,000 in the previous month, suggesting the economy is slowly recovering. That raised hopes for more good news on Friday, when the government releases its broader survey of the U.S. job market for May.

FED REPORT: The Federal Reserve said that its latest survey of regional business conditions showed that manufacturing held steady or increased in most regions of the country. The report will be reviewed by officials at the Fed's next meeting on June 16-17. Economists believe the central bank will decide to delay any rate increase until they see more signs of an economic rebound.

GREEK HOPES: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was heading to high-level meetings in Brussels to try to persuade creditors to accept a proposal that could unlock much-delayed bailout loans. Greece has to make a payment of over 300 million euros ($333 million) to the International Monetary Fund this Friday, then make a series of other payments in the coming months. The country faces the threat of bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro if it fails to repay past loans and get new ones, a development that could roil the 19-country eurozone.

ANALYST TAKE: "The consensus is that they'll meet the June 5th payment, and I think they'll make the late June payment, but the concern is they'll struggle mightily to meet their July payment," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "The market is taking one payment at a time, but this continues to loom as a major point of concern."

SALES JUMP: Clothing maker G-III Apparel Group surged $6.85, or 11 percent, to $66.94 after reporting earnings and revenue that came in well ahead of what Wall Street analysts were looking for.

MORE EXPORTS: A big drag on U.S. economic growth eased in April. The U.S. trade deficit declined sharply as exports posted a modest gain and imports fell. A surge in the deficit in the first three months of the year cut U.S. economic growth by nearly 2 percentage points, sending gross domestic product into the red.

SERVICES SLIP: A separate report showed U.S. service firms grew in May at the slowest pace in a year, as both new orders and hiring slipped. The Institute for Supply Management said its services index fell to 55.7 in May from 57.8 in April. Any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

EUROPE RISING: France's CAC 40 gained 0.6 percent while Germany's DAX rose 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.3 percent. European government bond yields also moved broadly higher. The yield on Germany's 10-year bond rose to 0.89 percent from 0.72 percent the day before, a large move.

ECB IN FOCUS: The European Central Bank raised its forecast for inflation this year to 0.3 percent from zero previously, another sign that the risk of crippling deflation — a long-term drop in prices —may be fading. ECB President Mario Draghi made the announcement at a news conference after the bank's governing council decided to hold its key interest rate at a record low of 0.05 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.3 percent. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7 percent while the Shanghai Composite was little changed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.62 to close at $59.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, fell $1.69 to $63.80 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1250. The dollar rose to 124.34 yen.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.36 percent from 2.26 percent.

METALS: Precious and industrial metals futures closed broadly lower. Gold fell $9.50 to $1,184.90 an ounce, silver fell 32 cents to $16.48 an ounce and copper declined a penny to $2.73 a pound.