NEW YORK - After weeks of conflicting signals about the strength of the economy, a big gain in jobs gave Wall Street reason to celebrate Friday. Stocks surged, traders donned party hats, and the wave of buying drove three indexes through major milestones.
"There's euphoria today," said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at Williams Capital Group. "That's what you'd have to call it."
The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed above 1,600 for the first time, rising 16.83 points, or 1 percent, to 1,614.42. The Dow Jones industrial average punched through another milestone, 15,000, before easing back to 14,973.96, up 142.38 points or 1 percent.
The morning's surprisingly strong jobs report - 165,000 new workers in April, upward revisions for March and February, and an unemployment rate at its lowest level in four years - came after weeks of conflicting signals about the strength of the global economy.
Market gains were broad. Eight of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index rose.
Nearly three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Russell 2000 small-cap index jumped 14.57 points, or 1.6 percent, to 954.42, a new all-time high. The Nasdaq composite index rose 38.01 points to 3,378.63, an increase of 1.1 percent.