U.S. stocks rose Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average above 15,000 for the first time, as employment picked up more than forecast in April and the jobless rate unexpectedly declined to a four-year low.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index also topped 1,600 for the first time, rallying 1.3% to 1,617.65 at 10:44 a.m. EDT. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 15% above the 30-day average during this time of day.
The Dow advanced 174.98 points, or 1.2%, to 15,006.56. Caterpillar Inc. and General Electric Co. rallied more than 2.3% to lead the Dow.
Payrolls expanded by 165,000 workers last month following a revised 138,000 increase in March that was larger than first estimated, Labor Department figures showed. The median forecast of 90 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 140,000 gain. Revisions to the prior two months' reports added a total of 114,000 jobs to the employment count in February and March.
The jobless rate dropped to 7.5%, the lowest level since December 2008, from 7.6% in March.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility index, or VIX, slid 4.9% to 12.93 as investors cut demand for protection against losses in the S&P 500. The benchmark gauge for options has fallen 28% this year.