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Stocks Move Higher Following Strong Job Growth

The Dow has gained 9.9 percent this year and is trading at record levels, having broken its previous record of 14,164 on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 8.8 percent since the start of the year, and is less than 1 percent short of its all-time high close of 1,565 set Oct. 9, 2007.

The stock market is drawing in more investors as it continues to surge.

Investors put $3.2 billion into stock mutual funds in the week ending Wednesday, data provider Lipper reported Friday. That's the ninth straight week of net inflows to stock funds, bringing this year's total to $59 billion.

Friday's jobs report strengthens the case of stock market bulls, who say the economy is gaining momentum following a long and tepid recovery after the financial crisis and Great Recession, said JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade.

"It gives hope to those that say this rally isn't just about the Fed, it's about the economy recovering," said Kinahan. "It's giving people confidence that maybe the economy is turning the corner."

The Dow is up 120 percent since reaching a 12-year low during The Great Recession. The index bottomed out almost exactly four years ago, on March 9, 2009, at 6,547. The S&P 500 has gained 129 percent since hitting its own bottom of 676 on the same date.

McDonald's contributed the most to the Dow's gains, rising $1.62, or 1.7 percent, to $98.71. The fast-food restaurant chain reported that a key sales figure fell 3.3 percent in February, but the decline wasn't as bad as analysts were expecting.

H&R Block had the biggest percentage gain on the S&P 500, advancing $2.30, or 9.2 percent, to $27.28.

The company said late Thursday that its net loss widened because of a delay to the start of this year's tax season. The stock got a boost, though, after CEO William Cobb said on a conference call that the company was winning market share, Barrington Research analyst Joe Janssen said.

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