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March 07. 2014 9:53PM

S&P 500 ends at record after strong jobs data

NEW YORK (Reuters) — U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Friday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record after more jobs than expected were created in February and January’s figure was revised higher.

The S&P 500 ended at a record closing high for the second day in a row. Friday’s milestone also was the S&P 500’s fifth record closing high in the past seven sessions.

But the overall sentiment was cautious and trading was volatile throughout the session as investors adjusted their positions ahead of the weekend and kept a close eye on the simmering crisis in Ukraine.

The S&P 500 had climbed to an intraday record of 1,883.57 shortly after the opening bell, lifted by the Labor Department’s report showing that U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls in February. Economists had expected a gain of 149,000 jobs.

But as the market digested the jobs report, some analysts said the data has sparked the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve would take more action at its policy meeting later this month. The Fed, however, is expected to keep reducing its monthly bond-buying program.

“It seems that the decent February employment report, although a step in the right direction, has resolved little,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers LLC in Greenwich, Conn. “Stocks are suffering from some inevitable ebbing following the latest strong flow.”


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