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Stocks Finish Higher After Rocky Start; Dow Gains 224 Points

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose on Wednesday.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market advanced on Wednesday, as investors continued to sift through corporate earnings reports.

Wall Street’s major indices were higher at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) rising 224.09 points, or 0.6%, to 35,629.33.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks rose 0.9% to settle at 4,589.38. Most sectors finished in positive territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) gained 0.5% to settle at 14,417.55.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) declined on Wednesday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 20.46 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 5.7% at 20.72.

In commodities, oil prices were higher on Wednesday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $88.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, climbed 44 cents, or 0.5%, to $89.60 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices rose, as the April futures contract gained $4.20, or 0.2%, to $1,805.70 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures climbed 6 cents, or 0.2%, to trade at $22.65 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, payrolls processor ADP reported on Wednesday that private payrolls plummeted by 301,000 in January, confounding expectations of a gain of 207,000. The December tally was revised down to reflect a gain of 776,000.