* Minutes from latest FOMC meeting due at 1900 GMT
* J.C. Penney climbs after sales results
* December private payrolls higher than expected
* Indexes up: Dow 0.9 pct, S&P 0.9 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct (Updates to afternoon, changes byline)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Jan 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rebounded on Wednesday from five straight sessions of losses after strong U.S. private sector jobs data and as deflation concerns in the euro zone were seen pushing the bloc’s central bank into action.
Investors were waiting for minutes from the most recent meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy-setting committee, due at 2:00 p.m. (1900 GMT). Traders will scan them for clues on the timing of an interest rate hike. The Fed said it would take a “patient” approach to deciding when to lift borrowing costs.
The day’s gains follow five sessions of losses for the S&P 500 in its longest losing streak in 13 months.
Homebuilders were among the day’s biggest gainers, with an index of housing shares up 2.8 percent, after a Bloomberg report that U.S. President Barack Obama was set to announce a reduction of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums.
European shares ended up, though far from session highs, on bets the first negative inflation in the euro zone since 2009 would trigger a long-awaited move from the European Central Bank to basically begin to print money.
“The deflationary data suggested the ECB will be justified in doing more and that is probably what people are betting on right now,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
At 1:30 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 155.12 points, or 0.89 percent, to 17,526.76, the S&P 500 gained 18.5 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,021.11 and the Nasdaq Composite added 42.91 points, or 0.93 percent, to 4,635.64.
Further support for stocks came after data showed U.S. private employers added 241,000 jobs last month, more than the 226,000 expected, while the November number was revised to 227,000 from the previously reported 208,000.
Non-farm payrolls estimates for December are at 240,000 according to a Reuters survey. The jobs report is due before Friday’s opening bell.
Shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc were up 9.7 percent after people familiar with the matter said the company is holding early-stage conversations with a handful of buyout firms about going private. Shares of another retailer, Pier 1 Imports, were up 5.8 percent.
J.C. Penney shares surged 18.8 percent, a day after the department store operator said same-store sales rose 3.7 percent in November and December. (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)