U.S. stocks jumped to session highs on Friday following a CNBC report that AT&T was near a $2.5 billion deal to buy most of Verizon's AllTel divestitures.

* The news provided an additional underpinning to a market that was already buoyed by hopes that the worst is over for the financial sector and by data showing fewer-than-expected April job cuts.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 168.30 points, or 2.00 percent, at 8,578.15. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 21.69 points, or 2.39 percent, at 929.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 23.49 points, or 1.37 percent, at 1,739.73.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)