Stocks Gain After Hiring Surge; Dow Nears 18,000

NEW YORK (AP) — A strong report on job creation pushed stock indexes higher Friday, even though the figures could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than anticipated. The dollar rose as traders anticipated more robust growth in the U.S.


KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,958 as of 12:13 p.m. Eastern, on pace to cross the 18,000-point mark for the first time.

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         The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,078 and the Nasdaq composite rose 17 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,787.


JOBS: The main focus in the markets Friday was the monthly U.S. jobs survey from the Labor Department. That showed U.S. employers added 321,000 jobs last month, the biggest burst of hiring in nearly three years. November marks the 10th straight month of U.S. job gains above 200,000, and would put 2014 on track to be the best year for hiring since 1999.

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ECONOMIC REACTION: The payrolls data could ratchet up expectations in the markets that the Fed will soon be in a position to start raising interest rates. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.32 percent from 2.24 percent the day before, as investors sold bonds in anticipation of possibly higher interest rates. Gold, another place investors go at times of uncertainty, fell $14.80, or 1.2 percent, to $1,193.30 an ounce after the jobs numbers.

         "The bottom line is this was yet another very solid employment report and another strong data point reaffirming the strength of U.S. growth versus a sluggish global (economy)," Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of fundamental fixed income at BlackRock, wrote in a note to reporters.

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EUROPE FOLLOWS THE U.S.: European markets all closed broadly higher after the U.S. economic data. Germany's DAX rose 2.4 percent, France's CAC-40 also rose 2.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 1 percent.


CANCER FREE: JPMorgan Chase rose $1.43, or 2.3 percent, to $62.81 after the bank disclosed that its CEO, Jamie Dimon, had completed his cancer treatment and appears to be cancer-free.


ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.15 to $65.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude declined 64 cents to $69.01 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

         – by AP Reporter Ken Sweet

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