U.S. stocks rose on Friday as data showed U.S. employers cut fewer jobs than expected last month, signaling a continued recovery in the economy.
February's non-farm employment numbers showed a loss of 36,000 jobs in the month against expectations in a Reuters survey for a loss of 50,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent, although the impact of inclement weather on the figures was unclear.
Analysts were concerned the severe winter weather that affected large swaths of the country would cause a larger drop in payrolls.
The employment situation still isn't great, but what we saw today shows that we're no longer deteriorating, and that is definitely a positive, said Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager at Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia.
Today's data could mean that we're only going to improve from here.
Diversified manufacturer 3M Co
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 94.85 points, or 0.91 percent, to 10,539.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 11.75 points, or 1.05 percent, to 1,134.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 25.71 points, or 1.13 percent, to 2,318.11.
The Nasdaq was boosted by a 3.4 percent gain in Apple Inc
The jobs data also provided a boost to commodities, with crude oil hitting a seven-week high. Energy shares <.GSPE> were the strongest performing sector in the S&P index, up 1.6 percent.
Dow components Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp rose, with Chevron
Declining shares included Solarfun Power Holdings
Transatlantic Holdings Inc
For the week, all indexes are up more than 2 percent, with the Nasdaq up more than 3 percent.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)