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From: Mark (
Subject:         Dow at 4-year high, Nasdaq hits 11-year high
Date: February 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm PST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks rallied Friday, as investors cheered a much stronger-than-expected jobs report.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) gained 157 points, or 1.2%, the S&P 500 (SPX) added 19 points, or 1.5%, and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) increased 46 points, or 1.6%.

The rally pushed pushed the Dow, up more than 5% in 2012, to its highest level since May 2008. The Nasdaq, up more than 11% for the year, climbed to its highest level since December 2000. The S&P 500 has gained almost 7% this year, and finished at a six-month high.

The rally was sparked by the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, which showed that the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January, far exceeding expectations. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, the lowest since February 2009.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected the government to report an increase of just 130,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate was expected to rise to 8.6%.

Economists had expected a slowdown in post-holiday hiring, considering that about 40,000 temporary couriers were hired for the holidays alone..

"The jobs data blew away market expectations," noted Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, calling it a "monster" jobs report. "This coupled with other recent reports for January, show the year has begun off on a firm note," he added.

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