MEXICO CITY - Mexico's peso firmed on Friday and stocks jumped as the U.S. government's stress tests eased worries about major banks and data showed employers in the United States cut fewer jobs than expected in April.

Any sign that the U.S. recession is easing bodes well for Mexico, which sends some 80 percent of its exports to its northern neighbor.

The peso MEX01 gained 0.71 to 13.098 per dollar while the IPC stock index .MXX rose 1.7 percent 23,991.

U.S. regulators told top banks after the close on Thursday to raise $74.6 billion to build a capital cushion that officials hope will restore faith in financial firms while data on Friday showed the smallest reduction in U.S. payrolls since October.

Shares in Banorte (GFNORTEO.MX), the biggest bank owned by Mexicans, rose 7.21 percent to 28.99 pesos while America Movil (AMXL.MX), Latin America's top cell phone operator, gained 2.24 percent to 24.20 pesos.

(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)