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Stock market rebounds after a five-day slump

Stocks have rebounded strongly from a five-day losing streak thanks to positive private employment numbers and gains in European markets.

Earlier, a report from Automatic Data Processing on private-sector hiring said U.S. employers added a solid 241,000 jobs last month. That news helped European markets to rally, adding to reports of negative inflation in December for the eurozone, which had investors betting that the European Central Bank will enhance its stimulus program.

Europe’s stock gains revived U.S. markets. The Dow Jones industrial average closed the day up 213 points, or 1.2%, while the broader S&P 500 index was up 23 points, or 1.2 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 58 points, or 1.3 percent.

The S&P 500’s gain follows five straight days of declines. The benchmark index has fallen roughly 1.6% so far this year after posting gains of 12% for 2014. The Dow index fell dramatically on Monday and Tuesday and has dropped 1.5% overall in 2015. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite remains down nearly 2% on the year following its own five-day losing streak.

Wednesday’s gains came despite relatively little positive movement for oil prices that have declined steadily since last summer and dragged down stock prices to start 2015. The price for a barrel of crude oil improved slightly on Wednesday, but remains firmly under $50 — the lowest level in about 5 and 1/2 years.