Stocks Up But End the Quarter Down

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are rising across the board Wednesday following big gains in Asia and Europe, a buoyant end to the worst quarter for major indexes in four years. Many stock benchmarks around the world have also lost ground in the past three months, weighed down by weak growth in major economies and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 165 points, or 1 percent, to 16,214 as of 3:07 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped 25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,909. The Nasdaq composite climbed 79 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,596.

THE QUOTE: "I've been surprised we haven't had rallies like the one we're seeing now," said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors. After "so many negative days, you're going to get a bounceback."

LIFT AT LAUREN: Ralph Lauren jumped $12.98, or 12.5 percent, to $117.03 after the company named a new CEO to replace its founder. The new CEO, Stefan Larsson, will leave his current job as global president of Gap's low-price Old Navy chain. Gap fell $1.51, or 5 percent, to $28.71.

DEAL MOVE: Western Digital surged $10.33, or 15 percent, to $79.19 after the digital storage company agreed to a $3.8 billion investment from China's Unisplendour Corp.

ENERGY BOOST: Chesapeake Energy rose 35 cents, or 5 percent, to $7.14 after announcing that it would cut 15 percent of its workforce.

BIOTECH BOUNCE: Buyers of biotechnology companies helped break an eight-day streak of drops for the battered sector. The Nasdaq Biotechnology index, down 24 percent from a peak in July, rose 4.3 percent on Wednesday. It fell sharply last week after Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton tweeted that drug prices were too high, then said she would use government drug-buying programs to slash prices if elected.

BAD QUARTER: From worries over Greece's debt, a slowing Chinese economy, plunging emerging-market currencies, uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's next moves on interest rates and a scary slide in commodity prices, the U.S. stock market has been hit with one blow after another in the past three months. The Dow index has fallen 7.8 percent in that time. The S&P 500 is off 7.3 percent, heading for its worst quarterly close in four years.

The biggest S&P 500 losers: energy companies, down 19 percent, and raw-material suppliers, down 18 percent.

JOBS WATCH: Investors are waiting for jobs data out Friday for clues about when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. Policymakers have said they will likely raise rates before the end of the year. On Wednesday, U.S. payroll processor ADP reported that U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs this month, up from 180,000 in the previous month.

EUROPE RISING: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 2.2 percent, France's CAC 40 jumped 2.6 percent and Germany's DAX gained 2.2 percent. The worst performing of those indexes, the DAX, is down 11.8 percent for the July-September quarter.

JAPAN HOPE: The Nikkei 225 surged 2.7 percent on expectations of more monetary and fiscal stimulus following weakness in recent economic data. Domestic demand is tepid in the world's third-biggest economy and China's slowdown has crimped Japanese exports.

ASIA'S DAY: China's Shanghai Composite Index was 0.5 percent higher; it has lost 29 percent in the past three months. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 2.1 percent. South Korea's stock market finished 1 percent higher.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude fell 12 cents to close at $45.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils, lost 10 cents to $49.04 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro weakened to $1.1165. The dollar rose to 119.97 yen.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.07 percent from 2.06 percent the day before.

METALS: Precious metals futures ended slightly lower, but copper prices surged. Gold slipped $11.60 to $1,115.20 an ounce, silver fell six cents to $14.52 an ounce and copper jumped nine cents to $2.34 an ounce.

(BAS)