An unexpectedly strong jobs report gave stocks a lift yesterday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average back to an all-time high.

The gains were led by banks, which stand to benefit from a pickup in lending as the economy strengthens. Losers included housing stocks and Twitter, which fell 7 percent the day after its initial public offering.

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The jobs report left investors grappling with how to interpret this week's good economic news and what it means for the Federal Reserve's stimulus program, which has helped power this year's stock rally.

Employers added a surprisingly strong 204,000 jobs in October despite the 16-day government shutdown, the Labor Department said Friday.

Rob Lutts, chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management, said the jobs report was positive because it showed the economy was improving, but perhaps not strongly enough to assure that the Fed will pull back on its bond-buying program before the end of year.

The Dow gained 167.80 points to 15,761.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended 1.34 percent higher at 1,770.61. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.60 percent to 3,919.23. Both the Dow and S&P 500 recovered all of their losses from Thursday.-- AP