NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock finished their second best day of trading this year after investors celebrated an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate to its lowest level in almost three years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 156.8 points higher, or 1.2%, at 12,862. The S&P 500 advanced 19.4 points, or 1.5%, to 1,345. The Nasdaq gained 46 points, or 1.6%, to 2,906, pushing the week's gains to 3.2% -- the best weekly performance in two months.
Only three components of 30 on the Dow traded lower. Bank of America (BAC), Alcoa (AA)and Caterpillar (CAT)led the Dow higher. Merck (MRK), Procter & Gamble (PG) and Pfizer (PFE) were slipping 0.1% , 0.7% and 0.1%.
The Bureau of Labor statistics announced Friday morning that the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January to push the unemployment rate down to 8.3%, the lowest level since February 2009. Economists had expected the addition of 150,000 new jobs last month, and for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 8.5%.The number of jobs added in December was also upwardly revised to 203,000 from 200,000, while November's figures were boosted to 157,000 from 100,000. "Virtually every economist on the planet had expected a drop in the rate of job gains in January which makes today's upward surprise even more surprising," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "Job growth at this pace and declines of this magnitude in the unemployment rate, if continued, would absolutely and unquestionably take
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