Stocks open sharply higher after US hiring surges

Stocks open sharply higher after US hiring surges and unemployment hits a 4-year low

Associated Press
Stocks surge to new highs after hiring climbs
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In this Thursday, May 2, 2013, photo, traders gather at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Stock markets edged higher on Friday May 3, 2013 ahead of the release of the U.S. government's monthly unemployment report, a key measure of the health of the world's largest economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are soaring in early trading after hiring surged in the U.S. last month and unemployment hit a four-year low.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index crossed 1,600 for the first time. In the first minutes of trading Friday, it was up 16 points at 1,613, a gain of 1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 134 points, or 0.9 percent, to 14,964.

The Nasdaq composite rose 37 points, or 1 percent, to 3,378.

Investors were encouraged after U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than the government first estimated. The job increases helped lower the unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.

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