Jobs report buoys strong U.S. stock showing
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange minutes before the closing bell on Oct. 8, 2013 in New York City. [AFP]

US stocks ended sharply higher Friday after a strong jobs report fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce its huge stimulus soon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a hefty 198.69 points (1.26 percent) at 16,020.20.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 20.06 (1.12 percent) to 1,805.09, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 29.36 (0.73 percent) to 4,062.52.

The Dow and the S&P 500 solidly snapped a five-session losing streak. Wall Street rallied from the opening bell after a better-than-expected November jobs report from the Labor Department.

The US jobless rate dropped to 7.0 percent, a five-year low, from 7.3 percent in September, and the economy added 203,000 jobs.

Analysts said the strength of the Labor Department report could encourage the Fed to begin cutting back its $85 billion a month in bond purchases, aimed at boosting economic growth

"Markets like this report because it indicates the risk of disinflation or deflation is diminishing," said David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors.

The Commerce Department reported consumers picked up their pace of spending in October, a key driver of economic growth. Meanwhile inflation fell for the third consecutive month, to a yearly rate of 0.7 percent, well below the Fed's preferred 2.0 percent target.

Adding to the overall bullishness, the University of Michigan's consumer confidence index jumped much more than expected in December.

All 30 stocks on the blue-chip Dow ended solidly in positive territory, led by Intel, up 2.3 percent, DuPont (+2.2 percent), and Boeing and General Electric, each up 1.9 percent.

In corporate news, retailer Sears shed 3.8 percent after announcing plans to spin off its Lands' End clothing business, subject to shareholder approval.

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance plunged 20.5 percent after a disappointing fiscal third-quarter earnings report showed a decline in same-store sales.

Tech giant Google rose 1.2 percent to a record-high close at $1,069.87 on the Nasdaq.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.88 percent from 2.86 percent from Thursday, while the 30-year rose to 3.92 percent from 3.91 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]