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Stocks End Higher on Optimism Over Greece
CNBC.com | March 08, 2012 | 04:18 PM EST

Stocks logged a gain for the second session Thursday as investors were optimistic Greece will likely clear a key hurdle with private creditors to avoid a disorderly default and ahead of a key government jobs report on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70.61 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 12,907.94, led by Alcoa and Caterpillar .

The S&P 500 jumped 13.28 points, or 0.98 percent, to end at 1,365.91. The Nasdaq rallied 34.73 points, or 1.18%, to end at 2,970.42, Both the S&P and Nasdaq rebounded from their big losses from Tuesday's steep decline.

Despite the gains, all three major averages are still poised to log a decline for the week.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended below 18.

All 10 S&P sectors ended firmly in positive territory, led by materials and industrials.

European shares finished higheramid optimism that Greece would secure its bond swap deal with private investors. Nearly 95 percent of bondholdershave signed up to participate in the bond swap deal, according to officials, exceeding the 90 percent rate the country had been aiming for.

"[Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos] Venizelos informed the cabinet that the PSI (debt swap) is going well, there are no surprises," said a finance minister. Official results aren't expected to be released until Friday.

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