Investing.com - U.S. stock prices closed at record highs for a fourth consecutive day on Friday after the U.S. government reported that the economy created far more jobs than expected in February.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.46%, the S&P 500 index ended up 0.45%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.38%.
The U.S. private sector added 246,000 jobs in February, beating expectations for a 167,000 increase, following January's 140,000 rise.
The headline unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in February from 7.9% in January, beating analysts' calls for the rate to remain unchanged.
The data came a day after the Department of Labor said that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits fell by 7,000 to 340,000 last week, defying expectations for an increase of 8,000 to 355,000.
The numbers sparked heavy demand for dollars on sentiment the Federal Reserve will wind down stimulus programs designed to create job demand by flooding the economy with liquidity to encourage investing.
The Fed is currently running a USD85 billion monthly bond-buying program known as quantitative easing, which weakens the dollar as a side effect, and Friday's jobs report stoked sentiments that such programs may wrap up sooner rather than later.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Walt Disney, up 1.88%, McDonald's, up 1.66%, and Home Depot, up 1.58%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Bank of America, down 1.55%, Intel, down 1.37%, and JPMorgan Chase, down 0.89%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 1.41%, France's CAC 40 rose 1.22%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished up 0.59%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.69%.