Stocks shot out of the gate Friday as investors cheered a smaller-than-expected job loss in May.
Nonfarm employers cut payrolls by 345,000last month, well below the 525,000-drop expected. And, the previous month was revised to show fewer jobs were lost than initially reported. The unemployment rate, however, jumped to 9.4 percent, the highest since August 1983 and higher than the 9.2 percent expected.
Still to come: April consumer-credit figures are due out at 3 pm ET, with $6 billion decline expected. These figures could be scrutinized more than usual, given the focus on tight credit markets.
Citigroup was in the spotlight following a report that the FDIC is mulling a shake-up of the bank's top management, including the ouster of CEO Vikram Pandit.
The auto sector will also be in focus as General Motors will announce a preliminary deal to sell its Saturn division to Penske Automotive Group.
GM is also expected to provide more than $2.5 billion of the $3.6 billion Platinum Equity needs to take control of auto-parts supplier Delphi, the Wall Street Journal reported.
And investors will be watching to see if any legal blockades will be thrown in front of Chrysler's plan to close dealerships.
Dupont was one of the few drags on the Dow after Bank of America and Merrill Lynch downgraded their ratings on the stock to "underperform"/"underweight," amid concerns that include patent expirations and rising crude prices.
In morning trading, crude was actually down about a dollar, trading below $68 a barrel.
Also dragging on the Dow was Merck after the pharmaceutical company's heart-failure drug, rolofylline, failed a late-stage study.
The Dow registered its highest close since Jan. 7 on Thursday, and the Nasdaq logged its best close since Oct. 6, after a report showed jobless claims fell last week and banks gained.
In tech land, Apple shares gained following news that CEO Steve Jobs would retake the company's helm later this month. Jobs took a leave in January as he battled pancreating cancer.
Rio Tinto shares shot higher, and helped mining stocks lead Europe, after the miner scrapped a proposed deal with China's Chinalco by combining its iron ore operations with BHP Billiton. Asian stocks ended mostly higher.
AIG priced a secondary public offering of Transatlantic Holdings at $38 each as the insurer prepares to shed assets to repay a government loan package with $180 billion. Heavily traded Transatlantic shares were off more than 3 percent premarket after closing Thursday at $41.
And regional bank Keycorp rose after RBC upgraded the company to "top pick" from "sector perform."
- Peter Schacknow, senior producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.