US STOCKS-Wall St rallies, S&P has best day since March

Fri Oct 3, 2014 1:12pm EDT
 
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK Oct 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were sharply higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 posting its biggest one-day jump since March 4 on the back of a September jobs report that was much stronger than expected.

The day's gains were broad, with all 10 S&P 500 sectors higher on the day, led by health care and financial stocks. Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 2,153 to 833, for a 2.58-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,920 issues were rising and 684 falling for a 2.81-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The nonfarm payroll report showed 248,000 jobs added in September, considerably more than the 215,000 that had been expected. August's number was revised up to 180,000 from 142,000.

The report eased concerns about the pace of economic growth but was not seen as so strong it would influence the Federal Reserve's consideration of how soon to raise interest rates.

"We're looking at a pretty sound fundamental picture, which has us tilted towards the upside, but that doesn't preclude any sharp pullback," said Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial in Bethesda, Maryland, who added that any pullback would likely be short.

Despite the day's rally, major indexes remained on track for the second straight weekly decline. The Dow, the S&P and the Nasdaq are all off 0.7 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 198.29 points, or 1.18 percent, to 16,999.34, the S&P 500 was gaining 22.19 points, or 1.14 percent, to 1,968.36 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 51.49 points, or 1.16 percent, to 4,481.69.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 12 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 33 new highs and 30 new lows. (Editing by James Dalgleish)