With traders reacting positively to the latest employment data, stocks showed a strong upward move at the start of trading on Friday. The major averages all moved firmly into positive territory after ending the previous session notably lower.

The initial strength came after the Labor Department released a report showing that employment fell by 539,000 jobs in April following a revised decrease of 699,000 jobs in March. Economists had been expecting a more substantial decrease of about 600,000 jobs.

Banking stocks have helped to lead the way higher following the release of the official results of the government's financial stress tests. Steel, energy, and housing stocks are also posting notable gains, while semiconductor stocks are bucking the uptrend.

In the past few minutes, the major averages have pulled back off their highs for the young session, although they are holding onto strong gains. The Dow is currently up 99.56 at 8,509.41, the Nasdaq is up 14.54 at 1,730.78 and the S&P 500 is up 10.67 at 918.06.

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