Stocks rose on Friday after another strong monthly jobs report showed the economic recovery was broadening.
The mood was slightly bullish after Greece completed the negotiation of the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history, an issue that has kept investors skittish.
The S&P 500 faced strong technical resistance as it approached its highest level in nearly four years.
Bank shares, among the most sensitive to growth expectations and the euro-zone crisis, led the advance, with the KBW bank index <.BKX> up 1.4 percent. Citigroup
Today's data was moving in the right direction, said Ken Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities in New York. Temporarily Greece has been taken off the front burner so the focus shifts back to the U.S. economy.
He said the push on the S&P toward recent highs could prompt selling later in the day.
An index of basic materials shares <.GSPM> also advanced alongside the Reuters/Jefferies commodities index <.CRB>, despite a broad rally in the dollar, which could pressure the prices of greenback-denominated commodities. The gains underscore the current focus on the economic recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 46.36 points, or 0.36 percent, to 12,954.30. The S&P 500 Index <.INX> rose 8.03 points, or 0.59 percent, to 1,373.94. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 21.80 points, or 0.73 percent, to 2,992.22.
Exactly three years ago, the S&P 500 posted a 12-year closing low at 676.53 during the height of the financial crisis. The index has more than doubled since then, although it stalled last year before resuming a rally in 2012.
Employers added 227,000 jobs to their payrolls in February, government data showed, while the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent even as people flooded back into the labor force to hunt for jobs.
Shares of Monster Worldwide Inc
Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc
Among the signs that China's economy appears likely to avoid a hard landing, the country's annual rate of consumer inflation slowed to a 20-month low in February, while factory output and retail sales also cooled. The data give policymakers ample room to further loosen monetary policy, analysts said.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Jan Paschal)