U.S. stocks continued to rise on Friday to end the week on a strong note, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to refresh all-time intraday highs and closing highs for four days in a row, boosted by upbeat U.S. jobs data.
The blue-chip Dow was up 67.58 points, or 0.47 percent, to 14, 397.07. The broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index rose 6.92 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,551.18. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 12.28 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,244.37.
The Dow and S&P 500 rose for a sixth consecutive session, both gaining 2.2 percent in this week. The Nasdaq finished the week up 2.4 percent.
The main stock indices opened higher,with the Dow surpassing 14,400 points for the first time amid generally rising equity markets in Asia and Europe, as Japan upwardly revised its GDP data for the fourth quarter of 2012 and Chinese exports in February grew more than expected.
"The Dow has gone up so quickly and so dramatically this year because the world economy is improving and investors want to be part of the improvement. Money coming out of other assets classes and going into the equity fueled to the rise," Benedict P. Willis III, managing director in Albert Fried & Company, LLC, told Xinhua in a telephone interview on Friday.
"Positive economic data, in particular today's jobs report, have further boosted the market making this rally more believable in people's minds," Gregory J. Keating, managing director of New York-based James E. Coffey Securities Inc, told Xinhua on Friday.
The U.S. economy added 236,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs in February, far more than market expectations, according to the Labor Department. The figure unexpectedly brought the February unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent, the lowest level in over four years.
"This morning's report shows a resilient economy continuing to recover," Seth D. Harris, acting secretary of the Labor Department, said in a statement. "The economy is poised for even more significant growth, but Congress should not hold it back," he added.
Wholesale inventories in January rose 1.2 percent from the revised December level, the biggest gain in over a year, the U.S. Commerce Department announced on Friday. Meanwhile, sales were down 0.8 percent compared with the previous month.
Financial shares had mixed performance after results of bank stress tests announced by the U.S. Federal Reserve after Thursday' s closing bell showed that America's largest bank holding companies continued to improve their ability to withstand an extremely adverse hypothetical economic scenario.
Citigroup rallied 3.73 percent to 46.68 U.S. dollars after the banking giant showed a higher-than-expected capital ratio in the bank stress tests.
In other markets, crude prices end mixed. Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained 0.39 dollars, or 0.42 percent, to settle at 91.95 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude for April delivery edged down 38 cents, or 0.34 percent, to close at 110.77 dollars a barrel, dragged by uncertainty in Italy after rating agency Fitch downgraded the country's ratings to BBB-plus with a negative outlook.
The U.S. dollar advanced against most major currencies. The dollar/yen rate surged and hit the highest level in more than three years on speculations that the newly nominated Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda would launch aggressive stimulus measures.
In late New York trading, the euro dropped to 1.3003 dollars from 1.3108 dollars of the previous session and the British pound slid to 1.4934 from 1.5017 dollars. The Australian dollar fell to 1.0237 dollars from 1.0274 dollars.
The dollar bought 95.81 Japanese yen, lower than 94.85 in the previous session. It edged up to 0.9513 Swiss francs from 0.9427 and stayed flat at 1.0589 Canadian dollars.