(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a positive note as investors continued to digest a strong jobs data released last week amid expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) would act to address the euro zone's debt woes.
S&P 500 Index advanced 0.24 percent to finish at 1,394.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.17 percent to end at 13,118.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.74 percent to close at 2,989.91.
The U.S. Labor Department on Friday said 163,000 jobs were added in July, topping expectations of 100,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in a speech on economic measurement said "even though some key aggregate metrics - including consumer spending, disposable income, household net worth, and debt service payments - have moved in the direction of recovery, it is clear that many individuals and households continue to struggle with difficult economic and financial conditions." He did not discuss about the Fed monetary policy in his remarks.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: BBY, TSN, KCG, CTSH, HCA, AIG, IPG, RAIL
In corporate news, Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) rallied 13.32 percent after its founder Richard Schulze offered $24 to $26 a share to buy out the ailing retailer. Schulze holds about 20 percent of BBY.
Tyson Foods Inc.(NYSE:TSN) retreated 7.99 percent after the meat processor warned of lower 2012 earnings amid softer-than-expected domestic demand for protein. The company posted lower earnings for the third quarter due to a loss of $167 million on early extinguishment of debt.
Knight Capital Group Inc. (NYSE:KCG) tumbled 24.20 percent. The financial services company, which last week had revealed a loss of $440 million from a trading glitch, agreed to sell a total of $400 million of 2 percent convertible preferred stock, according to a filing with the U.S. regulators.
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ:CTSH) jumped 10.97 percent after the Teaneck, New Jersey-based information technology company raised its 2012 earnings guidance following better-than-expected quarterly results.
HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCA) lost 3.95 percent after the Nashville, Tennessee-based U.S. hospital operator revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice is probing its heart-procedure practices. The company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, as higher patient volume and the consolidation of its HealthONE venture boosted growth in revenue.
American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG) rose 1.66 percent. The Treasury Department said it expects to raise an additional $750 million from the sale of AIG shares. On Friday, the Treasury priced an offering of about 163.9 million shares at $30.50 apiece.
Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (NYSE:IPG) lost 7.84 percent after France-based advertising company Publicis Groupe SA denied reports of a possible bid for its American rival.
FreightCar America Inc. (NASDAQ:RAIL) plunged 8.72 percent after the Chicago, Illinois-based manufacturer of railroad freight cars reported quarterly earnings and sales that missed market expectations.
European markets closed on a positive note amid ECB plans to purchase Italian and Spanish bonds to lower borrowing costs. Germany's DAX ended 0.77 percent higher at 6,918.72. France's CAC40 rose 0.81 percent to finish at 3,401.56. U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.37 percent to end at 5,808.77.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index gained 1.04 percent to finish at 2,154.92. Japan's Nikkei 225 rallied 2.00 percent to end at 8,726.29. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.69 percent to end at 19,998.72. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,412.96, up 1.25 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures advanced 0.81 percent to $92.140 per barrel and natural gas futures gained 1.18 percent to $2.911 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures rose 0.37 percent to $1,615.3 per ounce and silver futures added 0.46 percent to $27.93 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro inched up 0.09 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2398. The British pound shed 0.22 percent against the greenback to 1.5607, and the dollar slipped 0.32 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.2100.