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Stocks soar to all-time high on employment news

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A stronger-than-expected pickup in hiring last month lifted the stock market early Friday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average above 15,000 and the Standard and Poor's 500 index above 1,600 points for the first time.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 172 points, to 15,003, a gain of 1.1 percent, in the first hour of trading.

The S&P 500 index surged 18 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,615. It has been thirteen years since the broad stock-market index broke through 1,500.

The government said U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, more than economists were expecting. It also said more jobs were created in February and March than it had estimated earlier.

The unemployment rate also fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest in four years, from 7.6 percent the month before.

A series of weak manufacturing reports, disappointing retail sales in March, signs of an economic slowdown in China and mixed earnings reports for the first quarter have rattled the market in recent weeks. Friday's jobs numbers, while mediocre for a recovery, are reassuring investors.

The S&P 500 is up 13 percent from the start of the year. The Dow is up 14 percent.

When the jobs numbers were announced at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, gold dropped, oil rose and the dollar strengthened against the yen.

The NASDAQ composite rose 42 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,382.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose sharply as traders moved money out of bonds and into riskier assets like stocks. The yield rose to 1.72 percent from 1.63 percent the day before, its lowest level of the year.

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