U.S. stocks rose on Friday after employment notched a second straight month of solid gains while the jobless rate fell to a two-year low.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 216,000 jobs last month, more than expected and the largest increase since May, the Labor Department said. January and February employment figures were revised to show 7,000 more jobs than previously reported. The unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent in February.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 48.14 points, or 0.39 percent, at 12,367.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 7.41 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,333.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 13.09 points, or 0.47 percent, at 2,794.16.

The S&P broke above 1,330 following several unsuccessful attempts in the past month. If the index stays convincingly above that threshold, it may trigger more buying.

NYSE Euronext rallied after Nasdaq OMX Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange Inc unveiled a bid to buy the rival exchanges operator, topping an earlier offer from Deutsche Boerse AG .

NYSE surged 10.4 percent to $38.83 while ICE shares were down 1.5 percent to $121.65 and Nasdaq OMX rose 0.4 percent to $25.95.

Other data scheduled for Friday includes the Institute for Supply Management report for March manufacturing due at 10 a.m. The release will follow upbeat Chinese factory data that eased concerns about monetary tightening.

The S&P 500 ended the first quarter on Thursday with a gain of 5.4 percent.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)