U.S. stocks jumped to record highs Friday after a strong jobs report for the month of July gave investors more confidence that the economy is still growing. Financial and technology stocks soared, and investors sold the safe assets they have favored for most of this year.
The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 255,000 jobs in July, far more than investors expected and the second straight month of strong gains after shaky reports this spring. Stocks made their biggest gain in almost a month. Banks traded higher as investors anticipated higher interest rates and bigger profits on mortgages and other loans. Consumer companies also made big gains.
The Nasdaq composite and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed at record highs.
Investors sold bonds, precious metals, and phone and utility companies, safe investments that soared earlier this year as investors worried about the health of the economy.
“It looks like the economy is improving; it looks like corporate earnings are on the upswing,” said Sam Stovall, U.S. equity strategist for S&P Capital IQ.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 191.48 points to 18,543.53. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 0.86 percent to 2,182.87. The Nasdaq advanced 1.06 percent to 5,221.12. — AP