NEW YORK - The stock market is all about jobs this week. Stocks rose Thursday after unemployment claims fell to a five-year low. A day earlier, it was just the opposite - the market slumped after companies added just 119,000 jobs in April, the fewest in seven months, according to payroll processor ADP. And stocks could swing again Friday when the government's closely watched monthly employment report is released.
"Everyone is looking to the April jobs numbers," said Tyler Vernon, chief investment officer at Biltmore Capital. "People are more confident that it was an anomaly last month and are looking for some bigger numbers."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 130.63 points to 14,831.58 Thursday, an increase of 0.9 percent, after losing 138 points a day earlier. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 14.89 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,597.59, also recovering almost all its losses from a day earlier.
Gains for technology companies helped push the Nasdaq composite higher. The index advanced 41.49 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,340.62.
Signs of increased hiring have supported this year's surge in stocks and pushed the market to record highs, but the run-up has started to falter in recent weeks on concerns the global economy is slowing. More jobs should boost consumer spending, a key driver of U.S. growth.
Applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 324,000, the fewest since January 2008, the Labor Department reported before the market opened Thursday. Higher profits from CBS, Facebook, and other companies also lifted stocks.
CBS reported a 22 percent jump in first-quarter earnings as big events like the Super Bowl pushed advertising revenue higher. Its stock rose 95 cents, or 2 percent, to $47.35.
General Motors rose 98 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $31.16 after it lost less money in Europe and beat Wall Street's expectations for first-quarter profit. The automaker's earnings of 67 cents a share beat the 54 cents predicted by analysts who follow the company.
Facebook gained $1.54, or 5.6 percent, to $28.98 after its first-quarter revenue rose 38 percent, surpassing Wall Street expectations. Nearly a third of the company's advertising revenue came from mobile devices, a greater share than analysts had expected.
The social-networking site bucked the trend for companies reporting in the first quarter. Most are exceeding analysts' expectations on earnings but falling short on revenue.
"If we continue to see several more quarters like this, investors would start to get nervous," said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments. Growth needs to pick up in the major export markets, like China and Europe, for U.S. companies to maintain earnings growth, he said.
Facebook's earnings also boosted information-technology stocks, which rose 1.4 percent, the most in the S&P 500.