Share This Page

Hiring figures keep stocks on a roll

| Friday, March 8, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

NEW YORK — A burst of hiring in February pushed stocks higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67.58 points, or 0.5 percent, to 14,397.07. The index surpassed its record close Tuesday and logged a sixth straight increase Friday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6.92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,551.18. The Nasdaq composite advanced 12.28 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,244.37.

Employers added 236,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in January, the Labor Department reported. That's far better than the 156,000 job gains and unemployment rate of 7.8 percent that economists surveyed by FactSet expected.

The 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.

Among stocks making big moves;

— Pandora gained $2.06, or 17.6 percent, to $13.79 after the Internet radio company issued a strong profit forecast and said its mobile business was improving. Pandora also said its CEO, Joseph Kennedy, would leave.

— Skullcandy fell $1.51, or 22.5 percent, to $5.21 after the headphone maker projected a big loss and a drop in sales for the quarter.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.