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Stocks surge to record highs after hiring climbs

May. 04, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- After weeks of conflicting signals about the strength of the economy, a big gain in the jobs market gave Wall Street reason to celebrate Friday.

The stock market surged, traders donned party hats, and the wave of buying drove three indexes through major milestones.

"There's euphoria today," said Stephen Carl, the head equity trader at The Williams Capital Group. "That's what you'd have to call it."

The Dow Jones industrial average punched through another milestone, 15,000, before easing back. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed above 1,600 for the first time.

The Dow rose 142.38 points to close at 14,973.96, up 1 percent. The S&P 500 index surged 16.83 points, or 1 percent, to 1,614.42.

A surprisingly strong job report set it all off. U.S. employers added 165,000 new workers in April and many more in February and March than previously estimated. The unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in four years, 7.5 percent.

The surge in U.S. hiring comes after weeks of conflicting signals about the strength of the global economy. The unexpectedly strong numbers jolted markets higher from the start of trading.

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, brokers sported baseball caps emblazoned with "Dow 15,000."

The gains were broad. Eight of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index rose. Nearly three stocks rose for every one that fell on the NYSE.

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