Ahead of Friday's Labor Department report, which includes government jobs, Automatic Data Processing Inc. said the private sector job gains were smaller than expected.
The ADP monthly report quotes Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi as saying Superstorm Sandy "wreaked havoc on the job market in November, sliding an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls."
The Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing purchasing index for November rose from 54.2 to 54.7, indicating a slightly faster pace for growth among service industries in the month.
The Commerce Department said factory orders rose 0.8 percent in the month.
By close of trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average added 82.71 points, or 0.64 percent, to 13,034.49.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index shed 22.99 points, or 0.77 percent, to 2,973.70. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 2.23 points, or 0.16 percent, to 1,409.28.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,579 stocks advanced and 1,442 declined on a volume of 4.1 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note rose 6/32 to yield 1.591 percent.
The euro fell to $1.307 from Tuesday's $1.3095. The dollar rose to 82.43 yen from 81.90 yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.39 percent, 36.38 points, to 9,468.84.
Britain's FTSE 100 index gained 0.39 percent, 23.04 points, to 5,892.08.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]