U.S. Stocks Gain On Strong Payroll Data

Category: Markets / Finance / Mar 08, 2013 12:38PM EDT
U.S. stocks gained on Friday (March 8), with the S&P 500 rising for a sixth straight session and the Dow setting yet another fresh peak after a much stronger-than-expected payrolls report. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 80.93 points, or 0.56 percent, at 14,410.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.36 points, or 0.48 percent, at 1,551.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.21 points, or 0.47 percent, at 3,247.30. U.S. employers stepped up hiring in February, pushing the unemployment rate to a four year-low and suggesting the economy has enough momentum to withstand the blow from higher taxes and deep government spending cuts. Nonfarm payrolls surged 236,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, handily beating economists' expectations for a gain of 160,000. The jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 percent in January. The decline reflected gains in employment as well as people leaving the labor force. Although December and January's employment data was revised to show 15,000 fewer jobs added than previously reported, details of the report were solid, with construction adding the most jobs since March 2007 and increased hours for all workers. It was another sign of the economy's fundamental health, which has already propelled the Dow Jones industrial average to record highs. The sturdy gains in February also offered hope the economy would be able to absorb the fiscal austerity. (Video Source: REUTERS)