(CNBC) Major benchmarks rallied strongly on Friday, momentarily pushing blue-chip stocks above the closely watched psychological barrier of 14,000 intraday as investors reacted to encouraging news about U.S. labor markets.
The government reported that nonfarm payrolls rose 157,000 in January, while the unemployment rate inched up by a tenth of a point, to 7.9 percent. The figures were broadly in line with Wall Street’s expectations, and unlikely to change the Federal Reserve’s plans to inject the economy with massive stimulus.
Friday’s employment data was a welcome salve for some skittish investors who had begun to doubt the staying power of the recovery — particularly in the wake of last quarter’s surprising economic weakness. However, doubts about the significance of the stock market’s rally continued to linger.