NEW YORK -- The stock market rose sharply in early trading Friday after the U.S. government reported that hiring picked up in May.
U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs last month, slightly more than the 170,000 forecast by economists, according to data provider FactSet. The figure is consistent with steady hiring but less robust than the pace reported in the fall and winter.
The report will give a boost to stock market bulls, who expect the Federal Reserve to keep up its stimulus program as the U.S. economy continues to recover moderately. That combination pushed the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index to record highs last month.
For investors who expect the Fed to stay the course, "these types of slow economic growth reports speak to that," said Kevin Mahn, chief investment officer at Hennion & Walsh Asset Management. "It keeps interest rates at record lows and it keeps the equity markets humming."
The Dow Jones Industrial average jumped 153 points, or 1 percent, to 15,194 as of 10:11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 16 points, or 1 percent, to 1,638. The Nasdaq composite advanced 27 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,451.
Financial markets have turned volatile over the past two weeks as traders parse comments from Federal Reserve officials for hints about when the central bank will cut back on its support and the impact that will have on long-term interest rates and the economy.
The Fed is buying $85 billion of bond every month to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing and spending.
In government bond trading Friday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.13 percent from 2.08 percent as investors moved out of safer assets.
In commodities trading, the price of oil rose 12 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $94.87 a barrel. The price of gold fell $28, or 2 percent, to $1,388 an ounce.
Among stocks making big moves:
• Gap rose 96 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $44.85. The San Francisco-based clothing store chain reported late Thursday that its sales jumped 7 percent in May, more than expected, helped by strong results at its namesake Gap and Old Navy stores.
• TiVo plunged $2.40, or 17.4 percent, to $11.36 after the company settled patent disputes with several technology companies including Cisco and Motorola Mobility but received far less than what most investors inspected. TiVo has posted annual losses in nearly all of the past 10 years.
• Thor Industries rose $5.18, or 12.6 percent, to $46.42 after the company reported a 6 percent increase in income. The results beat market expectations on stronger sales of RVs and a lower tax rate.