U.S. stocks closed sharply higher Friday, with the S&P and the Nasdaq posting their strongest close ever, after a stronger-than-expected jobs report.
"The jobs report was incredibly impressive," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "What I think it did, is it took the May report and made it into an anomaly."
"After three weeks of stocks not doing much, ... this is the catalyst for stocks to continue higher," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. "I think it puts to bed fears of a faltering economy."
The S&P 500 advanced about 0.8 percent, with financials rising nearly 2 percent. The benchmark index broke above its previous all-time intraday high of 2,178.29 in mid-morning trade. The Nasdaq gained approximately 1 percent.
"The big takeaway, for me, is the market is doing exactly what it needs to move higher," said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital. "We're now getting confirmation about what the Fed has been telling; that the economy is going to pick up in the second half."
The U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs in July, well above the expected 180,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent.
"It was a pretty good number," said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income. "This is another data point that supports the thesis that the labor market is improving" after a sluggish first half.
"It's the second consecutive month where economists have been surprised," said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, noting the labor market has now seen expansion for 85 months, the largest expansion since the 1990s.