(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended sharply higher as a set of positive economic data ahead of Friday's key monthly employment report buoyed sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index gained 1.09 percent to end at 1,427.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.03 percent to finish at 13,231.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.44 percent to close at 3,020.06.
The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 51.7 percent last month from 51.5 percent in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Conference Board (CB) Consumer Confidence, which measures the level of consumer confidence in economic activity, jumped to a four-year high to 72.2 in October from a revised 68.4 in September.
The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits declined last week, government data showed. Jobless claims fell 9,000 to 363,000 for the week ended October 27 from a revised 372,000, also fewer than projection of 370,000 applications.
The ADP National Employment report showed that U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in October, better than economists expectations of an addition of 135,000 jobs.
The closely-watched Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data and unemployment rate are due on Friday. Economists expect creation of 125,000 jobs in October and the jobless rate increasing to 7.9 percent.
In other data, non-farm business sector labor productivity advanced at a 1.9 percent rate for the third quarter, beating economists expectations of a 1.6 percent rise. Unit labor costs in non-farm businesses unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent, versus expectations of an increase of 1.0 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: PFE, K, V, NFLX, JDAS, TDC, ZUMZ, M, CLWR, VRSN, ELLI
In corporate news, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) retreated 1.29 percent after the company posted a fall in quarterly earnings as loss of exclusivity of cholesterol drug Lipitor in the U.S. continued to hurt results and the pharma giant narrowed its forecast for the full year.
Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) gained 2.26 percent after the company reported a rise in quarterly profits as sales grew in double digits, and the ready-to-eat cereal food maker backed its 2012 outlook.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) added 3.69 percent after the payments technology company posted better-than-expected fourth quarter results. The company also authorized a new $1.5 billion class A share buyback plan.
Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC) plunged 6.68 percent after the provider of analytic data services posted its third-quarter results and revised its full-year forecast.
JDA Software Group Inc. (NASDAQ: JDAS) surged 17.35 percent after that the provider of enterprise software services agreed to be acquired for $45 per share, or roughly $1.9 billion, by affiliates of RedPrairie.
Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) slumped 16.55 percent after the sports-related apparel company reduced its third-quarter earnings forecast after it posted October same-store sales that came in weaker-than-expected.
Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) added 6.44 percent after the apparel company lifted its same-store sales growth outlook for the second half and posted better-than-expected same-store sales for October.
Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) jumped 5.50 percent. Shareholder Mount Kellett disclosed a 7.3 percent stake in the cellphone network operator and urged the company to consider the sale of excess wireless spectrum.
Verisign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) climbed 11.01 percent after the provider of Internet infrastructure services issued a statement on .com registry agreement.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) shed 1.96 percent. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 10 stake in the company's shares, which he called "undervalued".
Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE: WPI) posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly earnings, spurred by double-digit revenue growth from product launches across its three businesses. The generic drug developer raised its guidance for the full year. Shares rose 2.05 percent.
Ellie Mae Inc. (NYSE: ELLI) added 5.88 percent after the provider of on-demand automation services for the mortgage industry lifted its guidance for the full year after posting upbeat quarterly numbers.
European markets ended in green, with Germany's DAX up 1.03 percent to close at 7,335.67. France's CAC40 rose 1.35 percent to finish at 3,475.40. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 1.37 percent to end at 5,861.92.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumped 1.72 percent to finish at 2,104.43. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.21 percent to end at 8,946.87. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.83 percent to end at 21,821.87. India's BSE Sensex closed at 18,561.70, up 0.30 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures rose 0.81 percent to $86.94 per barrel, while natural gas futures declined 0.33 percent to $3.680 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures shed 0.14 percent to $1,716.7 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.14 percent to $32.27 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.15 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2940. The British pound edged 0.04 percent lower against the greenback to 1.6124, while the dollar rose 0.48 percent against the Japanese yen to 80.1500.