Stocks backed off from their intraday highs, but still finished sharply higher Thursday after a pair of jobs news offered some hope that the employment picture was improving ahead of the critical government non-farm payroll report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 93.47 points, or 0.74 percent, to finish at 12,719.49 , led by Cisco , JPMorgan and Intel .
Meanwhile, Pfizer fell after the drugmaker said it may sell or spinoff its animal health and nutrition units to focus on the pharmaceutical business. And IBM also lagged after Wells Fargo cut its rating on the tech giant to "marketperform" from "outperform."
The S&P 500 climbed 14 points, or 1.05 percent, to close at 1,353.22.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 38.64 points, or 1.36 percent, to end at 2,872.66, rallying for the eighth-consecutive session, but fell just short of a 10-1/2 year closing high.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell to trade near 16.
Most S&P sectors ended higher, led by financials and materials.
Following a pair of robust jobs news in the morning, investors are now focusing on Friday's key government jobs report. Employers are expected to have added 90,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.
"One thing is an absolute: Tomorrow's number will influence hiring and consumer sentiment for the rest of the summer," said Todd Schoenberger, managing director of LandColt Trading. "Stocks have been on a tear, so traders may be more inclined to unload stocks following the number, even if it surprises on the upside."
Meanwhile, said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group said a better-than-expected jobs report could boost the S&P 500 from its recent trading range of 1,250 to 1,370.
"July has been a positive month [for stocks]...so if the employment data comes through positively as indicated by the ADP report today, we could see a push above the top end of the range in the next few weeks," said Sheldon.