US stocks jump on strong jobs data

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(Close): US stocks ended sharply higher on Friday after official figures showed the US labour market rebounded last month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that US firms created 223,000 new jobs in April, while the unemployment rate dropped to a seven-year low of 5.4%.

The Dow Jones jumped 267.05 points, or 1.49%, to 18,191.11.

The S&P 500 index rose 28.10 points to 2,116.10, while the Nasdaq added 58.00 points to finish at 5,003.55.

April's strong jobs increase followed a rise of just 85,000 jobs in March, when cold weather was blamed for hurting the US economy.

"This is one of the most encouraging jobs reports that we have seen in years, because it shows that the recovery in the US labour market is no flash in the pan," said Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe.

"Last month's figures were well below expectations, leading many to worry whether the cold winter would lead to a permanent slowdown in jobs growth. April's report puts these worries to rest," he added.

However, some analysts said the US Federal Reserve would want to see more signs that the recovery was being maintained before raising interest rates.

US benchmark interest rates have been near zero since late 2008 when the central bank slashed rates during the financial crisis.


US fast food firm Bojangles made a strong start when it debuted on US markets on Friday. Shares in the firm rose over 40% after initially pricing at $19 per share, which valued the restaurant firm at $680m.

Shares in credit card firm Visa were the day's biggest winner on the Dow Jones, rising over 4% after Bloomberg reported that it was in talks to buy its former subsidiary, Visa Europe.

But cloud computing firm suffered the opposite fate.

Shares in the company rose sharply earlier in the week amid rumours that the firm was going to be acquired by Microsoft.

But they declined by nearly 3% on Friday after online publication Recode said that Microsoft denied the reports, citing unnamed sources.