Stocks rally after strong jobs data

Posted Feb. 01, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rallied Friday to cap a fifth week of gains that lifted the Dow Jones industrial average above 14,000 for the first time in five years after reports on jobs and manufacturing brightened Wall Street’s view of the economic recovery.

The Dow’s reaching 14,000 is “another positive sign after finishing one of the strongest months on record,” said Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

The market celebrated after the release of Labor Department figures that showed payrolls rising 157,000 in January after a revised 196,000 gain in December and a 247,000 influx in November.

“Everyone was so concerned about the fiscal cliff, yet we had some really strong hiring in the private sector during those months,” said Cronk of the final two months of 2012.

Separate data had manufacturing in January expanding to a nine-month high and confidence taking an unexpected turn upward.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 149.21 points, or 1.1 percent, to 14,009.79, its first finish above the 14,000 level since Oct. 12, 2007.

Up 0.8 percent from the week-ago close, the blue chip index’s weekly win run was its longest-running since August.

The S&P 500 index gained 15.06 points, or 1 percent, to 1,513.17, posting a 0.7 percent weekly advance. The Nasdaq composite added 36.97 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,179.10, up 0.9 percent from last Friday’s finish.

Friday’s rally followed a solid month for equities, with the S&P 500 gaining 5 percent in January, which also marked the first full month since 2007 where more money flowed into equity funds than bond funds, said Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets.

Ahead of Friday’s open, stock-index futures had added to gains after the government reported the U.S. economy created a smaller-than-expected 157,000 jobs in January but added more the prior two months than initially thought. The January unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage point to stand at 7.9 percent.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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