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Stock market jumps on jobs

Dec. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- Good news was finally good news for the stock market on Friday.

Stocks rose sharply after the government reported a fourth straight month of solid U.S. job gains, the latest encouraging sign for the economy.

The strengthening job market focused investors on the nation's improving economy instead of concerns about the Federal Reserve's stimulus, snapping a five-day losing streak for stocks.

Stocks had been falling this week after a string of positive economic reports made investors worry that the Fed would soon pull back on its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, which have kept long-term interest rates low and supported the stock market.

Now that hiring is showing consistent strength, investors seem to be letting go of their earlier worry that the economy isn't ready for the Fed to start weaning the U.S. off that stimulus.

"The jobs report was outstanding," said Randy Frederick, a director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "It's refreshing to see the markets react positively, because we've been in a mode for so long of 'good news is bad news."'

Employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. November's job gain helped lower the unemployment rate to 7 percent from 7.3 percent in October.

Stocks jumped at the open and moved higher throughout the day. The Dow Jones industrial average rose by as much as 200 points in early afternoon trading before easing back slightly before the close.

The Dow closed up 198.69 points, or 1.3 percent, to 16,020.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20.06 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,805.09, its biggest gain in a month. The Nasdaq composite climbed 29.36, or 0.7 percent, to 4,062.52.

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