A strong jobs report pushed stocks higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at the highest level since May 2008 — before the financial crisis, the Associated Press reported.
The Dow closed at 12,862 at the end of trading on Friday, up 1.2 percent, after passing 12,869 mid-day. Earlier, the Labor Department said unemployment fell to 8.3 percent in January as employers added 243,000 jobs, a possible sign the economy is at long last settling into a stronger recovery.
The fifth straight monthly decline for unemployment caused a surge in stocks, with the Nasdaq index at an 11-year high earlier in the day.
The Nasdaq closed at 2,905, up 1.61 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent to 1,344.90.