Debt-ceiling hopes lift Wall Street

Stocks ended higher Wednesday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered the Democrats an olive branch when it comes to the debt ceiling.

McConnell said his party would support an extension of the federal debt ceiling into December...that effectively pushes America back from the brink of possibly defaulting on its debts for the first time in history...at least until the end of the year.

Investors applauded that progress - leading to a turnaround in the stock market.

The Dow gained 102 points. The S&P 500 17. The Nasdaq 68.

Strong news also coming on the economy - Private employers hired 568,000 new employees in September, according to a monthly survey compiled by payroll processing company ADP. The biggest boost in hiring came largely from leisure and hospitality, with bars and restaurants adding staff amid signs the latest health crisis outbreak is starting to slow.

The hiring number initially spooked Wall Street ahead of Friday's more comprehensive jobs report.

George Schultze is founder of Schultze Asset Management.

"With higher and higher employment, the likelihood that the Fed will keep buying $120 billion worth of securities per month for an extended period of time is diminished. And I think the market's worried about that because, you know, you see one good number or several good numbers, and you know, the pressure at the Fed must be becoming extreme."

Energy prices had a wild ride. Fear of a supply crunch as temperatures drop originally sent U.S. oil prices close to a 7-year high and natural gas prices near 12-year highs. But prices then reversed when Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was ready to help stabilize the market. Crude prices settled the day down $1.50 to more than $77 a barrel.

In corporate news, Target announced a "buy now, pay later" program for the holiday shopping season through a partnership with Affirm Holdings. Shares of Target finished the day slightly lower, but Affirm surged roughly 20 percent.

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