U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index a fifth weekly advance, after reports showed employment in the world’s largest economy topped forecasts and global manufacturing is strengthening.
Bank of America and American Express jumped at least 4.8 percent last week, leading gains in the Dow Jones industrial average, which climbed to its highest level since May 2008. Financial and technology companies added at least 3.1 percent as a group.
The S&P 500 rose 2.2 percent since Jan. 27 to 1344.90, completing the longest weekly rally since January 2011. It is up 6.9 percent this year, the best annual start since 1987.
The Dow added 201.77 points, or 1.6 percent, to 12,862.23 last week. “We’re in a positive feedback loop,” said Bernard Schoenfeld, a senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, which oversees a bout $168 billion. “The employment picture is improving, we’re seeing earnings growth continue to be favorable, valuations are attractive, and the economy seems to be improving.”
The S&P 500 has recovered after the European debt crisis drove the index down 19 percent between April 29 and Oct. 3, boosted by better-than-estimated economic data and corporate profits. It is 1.4 percent away from surpassing its peak of nine months ago and reaching its highest level since June 2008.