The stock market took off today after the nation's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in three years, indicating the economy is growing at a healthy but not overheated rate.
As the jobless rate fell to 5 percent, employers added 146,000 new jobs in June--40,000 more than in May, the Labor Department reported.
On Wall Street, those numbers added up to a "Goldilocks economy"--not too hot, not too cold, but just right for sustainable, inflation-free economic growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 147 points to 10,449.14.
The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index gained 37 points to 2,112.88
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index closed up 14 points at 1,211.86, which left the index less than one-tenth of a point away from break-even for the year.
For all three indexes, it was the biggest single-day gain since April 21.
Investors got more encouragement from Alcoa Inc., which launched the summer earnings season by reporting profits of 46 cents a share--a penny a share more than analysts were expecting.
The world's biggest maker of aluminum, Alcoa traditionally is the first company in the Dow to report its profits. The second quarter earnings reports will begin to flow next week, giving investors their most important decision-making factor.
Another plus came from the crude oil market, where prices dropped $1.10 a barrel to $59.63 after Hurricane Dennis drifted away from the primary petroleum producing region of the Gulf of Mexico.
The rebound of European markets after yesterday's London bombing attacks also encouraged investors on Wall Street. Markets in England, France, Germany and Holland all bounced back based on the assessment that the bombing will have little economic impact.