Jobs Growth News Boosts Nasdaq to 11-Year High

Fresh off a January in which the index rose 8%, the Nasdaq Composite is off to an even faster start in February.

The index swelled another 46 points, or 1.6%, today to reach an 11-year high of 2,905. The catalyst was better-than-expected jobs news. The U.S. Labor Department reported this morning that nonfarm payrolls rose 243,000 in January – the biggest gain since last April – while the unemployment rate fell a couple more notches from 8.5% to 8.3%. That’s the lowest unemployment has been in three years.

Today’s gains have the Nasdaq off to its best start to a year since 1991.

The S&P 500 hasn’t performed too shabby either. The index was up 1.46% today, and 3.6% for the year. At 1,344, the index closed the week at its highest level since late July.

Stocks that received the biggest boost included Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN), which vaulted 5.8% on Friday. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) was up 5.2%, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) jumped 3.4%, and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) and Alcoa (NYSE: AA) each climbed 3.2%.

How much higher can the market go? Our own Jason Cimpl thinks the rally could last through the rest of February.

Given how high stocks have risen over the last two months in the face of an economic meltdown in Europe and mixed U.S. sales results, another month of this surge shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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