The markets rose to record highs today in a broad-based rally fueled by a positive jobs report and a predictable Federal Reserve.
The buying spree touched companies of every size in virtually ever sector. The three leading barometers -- the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq composite -- all posted new highs.
Analysts cited two main reasons for the market's best week since October: a government report this morning showing the nation gained more jobs than predicted, and continuing relief that the Fed did nothing more than expected when it raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points Wednesday.
"There was Fed euphoria today," said David Blitzer, chief economist at Standard & Poor's. "They did what everybody expected them to do. So everybody thought they must be smart, we must be smart."
Led by American Express, the Dow Jones industrials rose for a sixth consecutive day, gaining 72.82, or 0.7 percent. It closed at 11,139.24 -- its first record since May. The blue-chip barometer added its biggest weekly point gain, rising 586 points, or 5.3 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, pushed up by makers of communications equipment such as Cisco Systems, rose 10.26, or 0.7 percent, to 1391.22. For the week, it was up 5.8 percent.
Technology shares rallied, leading the Nasdaq up 34.83 or 1.3 percent, to 2741.01, rising 7.4 percent for the week. It was third record in three days for the Nasdaq and S&P 500.
The rally came after a Labor Department report showed the economy added 268,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent in May. Though the unemployment rate was slightly higher than predicted, so too were the job gains.
"People are feeling very comfortable about the economy," said Josh Feinman, chief economist of Deutsche Bank's asset management division. "If we continue to perform the way we have economically over the last few years, then stocks are not overvalued. But whether that will happen is a question we're all trying to answer, including the Fed."
Cisco Systems Inc. rose 2-9/16 to 70 5/8. Tellabs Inc. advanced 1-11/16 to 70-1/16. Financial stocks also performed particularly well. American Express rose 4 5/8 to 137 3/4, contributing most of the Dow's advance.
The rally also reflected a continued renaissance in stocks of smaller companies. For the second quarter of the year, Blitzer said, small-cap growth stocks were up nearly 20 percent, while large caps were up 3.8 percent.
"As much as anything else," he said, "the shift we've seen in the last few weeks is that mid-caps and small-caps that sat out for a long time have been sneaking back into the game."
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 11 to 8 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled 613.6 million shares, down from 843.4 million Thursday. Volume was lighter than usual as investors left early to start the Independence Day weekend.
Stocks typically rise before the holiday, said Andrew Brooks, head equities trader at T. Rowe Price. "People are proud to be Americans," he said. "There's definitely a bias that puts the psyche on the upside."
The NYSE composite index rose 3.79, to 655.12; the American Stock Exchange composite index rose 7.47, to 802.42; and the Russell 2000 index rose 2.09, to 456.51.
CAPTION: Brokers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange laugh as colleague Anthony Alvarino performs a Fourth of July "helicopter traffic report." His audience flipped the pages of their order books to simulate the sound of rotors.
DOW'S NEW HEIGHT
The Dow, at yesterday's close of 11,139.24, is up 21 percent for the year.
Dow Jones industrial average, daily close
Dec. 31: 9181.43
SOURCE: Bloomberg News