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Dow finishes above 17,000 on strong payrolls report

U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, lifting the Dow industrials above 17,000, after the government reported the economy created a better-than-expected 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent.

"I would categorize it as a fantastic number, and a great transition to earnings season next week," said David Lyon, a global investment specialist at JP Morgan Private Bank in San Francisco.

Read MoreBoom! Job growth accelerates, rate falls

Lorillard rallied after CNBC reported the tobacco maker could be taken over by Reynolds American within weeks. PetSmart jumped after hedge fund Jana Partners disclosed a 9.9 percent stake and said it plans to ask the retailer to explore a sale.

"It was a very good report; the next leg up in stocks is the 2,000 mark on the S&P 500," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Read MoreDow 17,000? Another milestone matters more

Flat ahead of the jobs report, the yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped as much as five basis points and was lately up 1 basis point at 2.638.

"The bond market is saying, the economy is healthier than people are giving it credit for," said Kinahan.

The European Union kept monetary policy unchanged as expected on Thursday following last month's measures to stimulate the economy.

Read MoreECB holds fire, all eyes turn to Draghi

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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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After closing at records on Wednesday, both the Dow and S&P 500 furthered their advance into uncharted terrain in Thursday's abbreviated session.

After a 98-point jump, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 92.02 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,068.26, with Goldman Sachs pacing blue-chip gains that extended to 27 of 30 components.

The S&P 500 added 10.82 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,985.44, with industrials leading sector gains and utilities the sole laggard among its 10 major industry groups.

Ending at a 14-year high, the Nasdaq advanced 28.19 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,485.93.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, fell 4.6 percent to 10.32.

For every three stocks falling, more than four gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 537 million shares. Composite volume approached 2 billion.

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Ark_Tui | iStock | Getty Images

Wall Street offered muted reaction to an industry report showing the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector slowing slightly in June.

Read MoreU.S. service sector cools despite new order boost: ISM

Another report Thursday had Markit's final U.S. June services Purchasing Managers Index at 61.0 versus a preliminary estimate of 61.2.

The dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and dollar-denominated commodities including gold and oil fell.

The jobs report is "bullish for the U.S. dollar, and a headwind for the gold markets; as interest rates rise, the competitive landscape for gold will be a little more challenging," said Lyon at JP Morgan Private Bank.

On Wednesday, stocks closed mixed, with the Dow and S&P 500 pushing into uncharted territory.

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson

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