Stocks turned in their best performance since early January, up 2.3 percent for the week, as investors breathed a sigh of relief that job loss in February wasn't as bad as expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 1 percent in today's session, led by Alcoa and Boeing as commodity and industrial stocks got a boost from the jobs report, which showed 1,000 manufacturing jobs were added last month. American Express rounded out the Dow's top three today.
Just two components ended the day lower: Microsoft and Verizon.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each gained more than 1 percent today — and the Nasdaq hit an 18-month closing high — as Apple surged to an all-time high after the company set a date for the iPad to go on sale.
For the week, the Dow gained 2.3 percent. The S&P gained over 3 pecent and the Nasdaq jumped a whopping 4 percent.
Materials led gainers for the week, followed by consumer discretionary and financials.
Traders are increasingly making bets on consumer-discretionary stocks, not just playing defense with consumer staples.
Financials benefited from speculation that the Volcker rule, a crackdown on proprietary trading by banks, won't make it into any financial-reform law.
Commodities advanced this week: Oil finished at $81.50 a barrel, while gold ended at $1,135.20 an ounce.
The big event of the week came this morning: The February jobs report.
Employersslashed 36,000 jobs from nonfarm payrolls last month, far fewer than expected. The consensus estimate had projected a loss of 50,000 jobs but the whisper number went as high as 200,000, given the impact of brutal winter weather in the Northeast. Job losses for December and January were revised to show 35,000 fewer jobs lost than previously reported. And the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent.
Manufacturing showed signs of a modest recovery, adding 1,000 jobs, but construction shed 64,000 jobs — a worrisome sign for the sector at this point in the recovery. Census hiring was just 15,000, less than expected.
Temporary work rose for a fifth straight month, which is usually viewed as an encouraging sign but Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading, said it's the source of some concern.
"After dissecting the report, traders are recognizing that what is keeping the jobs number from falling off a cliff is the amount of temporary hiring," Schoenberger explained. "Unless there is supporting evidence that temps are becoming permanent on company payrolls, the long-range view remains cloudy. This could dampen any bullish sentiment that appeared following the release," he said.