NEW YORK, Mar. 2 -- U.S. stocks gained moderately Wednesday on broad support from Federal Reserve survey to positive jobs report, offsetting the higher oil prices.
A Federal Reserve survey released on Wednesday said that the U. S. economy has gained strength. The survey showed that all 12 of the Fed's regions reported growth at a "modest to moderate pace."
But the survey hinted some inflationary concerns. Costs were rising for manufacturers and retailers in most areas. Retailers in some districts said they have or soon will raise prices.
With inflationary concerns increase, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke endured tough questioning from members of Congress on both Tuesday and Wednesday about the threat of possible inflation.
He said that the Fed was trying to cool down the market's fears about inflation but investors, however, still remain their concerns.
Those concerns have been heightened by recent surging prices of corn, wheat and other commodities.
Moreover,investors have taken their cue from oil since the start of turmoil in the Middle East and northern Africa in January. Investors worry rising oil prices could derail the economic recovery.
The jobs report released on Wednesday, however, showed some positive signals. The Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) said in its monthly report that private employers added 217,000 jobs in February, beating analysts' 175,000 expectations. The January figure was revised higher to 189,000 from 187,000.
Also boosting the market, Costco, the country's wholesale giant, posted its fiscal second-quarter net income increased 16 percent as the wholesale club operator benefited from stronger business overseas and growing membership.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 8.78 points, or 0.07 percent, to 12,066.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.11 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,308.44. The Nasdaq gained 10.66 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,748.07.