U.S. stocks jumped at the open on Friday, cutting weekly losses on the S&P 500 in half, after an unexpectedly strong payrolls report eased fears about the path of the economic recovery.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 244,000 in April, the most in 11 months, the Labor Department said on Friday, well above economist' expectations for an increase of 186,000.

Surprisingly good, strong number here -- this reminds everyone that we are still on the path of recovery, said Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial in Boston.

This might even put a bid back in commodities which have suffered so tremendously this week on the fear that there is no more need for an inflation hedge.

U.S. crude oil futures, which had slumped on Thursday after a batch of soft economic data during the week, pared early losses and fell 0.4 percent to $99.44 a barrel. ICE Brent futures rose 0.2 percent to $111.01.

Exxon Mobil Corp rose 0.9 percent to $83.39 and Chevron Corp gained 0.7 percent to $103.36. The PHLX Oil service sector index <.OSX> climbed 1.7 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 127.49 points, or 1.01 percent, to 12,711.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 13.43 points, or 1.01 percent, to 1,348.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> climbed 25.82 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,840.54.

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the flash crash on Wall Street, when the Dow lost nearly 700 points in minutes.

The CBOE volatility index ., dropped 8.8 percent to 16.60 after closing at its highest level on Thursday since March 28.

Gaines were also seen in materials-related stocks, with the S&P Materials index <.GSPM> up 2 percent, led by a 3.1 percent rise in mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold to $51.33.

The benchmark S&P 500 had fallen 2.1 percent this week, before Friday's advance, culminating in a drop in commodity prices on Thursday as concerns rose over deteriorating demand.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)