NEW YORK -- It’s only a few days into May, but already investors have seen one surprise after another, as the Dow Jones industrial average passed 15,000 for the first time Friday on the strength of a better-than-expected jobs report.
The S&P 500, a broader market index, pushed past 1,600 after hitting an all-time high on Thursday.
Friday's jobs report showed employers adding 165,000 net new jobs in April, meaning that employers have added, on average, a respectable 212,000 jobs in the last three months.
“It’s a Goldilocks report in that you have a moderately growing economy, that’s not growing so fast that the Feds will be tightening interest rates, but isn’t growing so slow that the inflation risks are high,” said Michael Gapen, director of U.S. economic research at Barclays.
The job numbers soothed investors after a few less-than-stellar data reports, including lackluster growth in first-quarter gross domestic product, and regional manufacturing numbers that showed that sector was slowing. Investors had been worried about the potential effects of sequestration on jobs and consumer spending. But spending has remained strong, as higher home prices and stock prices have helped people retain wealth.