US stocks end higher on upbeat data

New York, April 2 (IANS) US stocks reversed early losses to closed higher on Friday, as Wall Street assessed a batch of generally positive economic reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107.66 points, or 0.61 percent, to 17,792.75. The S&P 500 added 13.04 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,072.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 44.69 points, or 0.92 percent, to 4,914.54, Xinhua reported.

US total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March, beating market consensus of 210,000, the Labour Department announced on Friday. The unemployment rate in March edged up to 5 percent.

In March, the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents to 25.43 US dollars, also above market estimates. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent.

“A solid employment report the Fed can live with,” said Chris Low, the chief economist at FTN Financial, on Friday. “The Fed should be pleased, and more patient, after this report.”

Meanwhile, the US manufacturing index registered 51.8 percent in March, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from the February reading of 49.5 percent and topping market expectations, the Institute Supply Management (ISM) said on Friday.

The final reading of the consumer sentiment for March came in at 91, slightly higher than expected, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment showed Friday.

For the week, all three major indices posted solid gains, with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq surging 1.6 percent, 1.8 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

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