Stocks close broadly higher following big job gains in March

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Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Monday as the economy showed more signs that it’s continuing to recover. The S&P 500 rose 1.4% to another record high. The gains came after the government reported last week that employers went on a hiring spree in March, adding 916,000 jobs, the most since August. Investors had a delayed reaction to the encouraging jobs reports, which was released on Friday when stock trading was closed. The services sector also showed strong growth in March. Tesla surprised investors with a report that vehicle deliveries doubled during the first quarter. Crude oil prices fell.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Stocks rose broadly on Wall Street in afternoon trading Monday as investors welcomed more signs that the economy is on the path to recovery.

The U.S. government reported last week that employers went on a hiring spree in March, adding 916,000 jobs, the most since August. Traders had a delayed reaction to the encouraging jobs report, which was released on Friday when stock trading was closed. Investors were further encouraged by a report Monday showing that the services sector recorded record growth in March as orders, hiring and prices surged.

The S&P 500 rose 1.4% as of 3:38 p.m. Eastern time and was on track for another record high after closing above the 4,000-point mark for the first time last Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 379 points, or 1.2%, to 33,532 and the Nasdaq was 1.6% higher.

Both employment and the services industry have been lagging other areas of the economy throughout the recovery. Analysts have said that both need to show signs of growth in order for the recovery to remain on track. COVID-19 and the potential for a spike in cases remains a concern, but the strong rollout of vaccinations is making an eventual return to normal for many people seem clearer and closer.

“The jobs report underscored the rebound in the labor market,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “The only thing that can stymie this rebound, this recovery, will be that COVID-19 launches another wave.”

The gains were broad Monday, with nearly every sector rising. Companies that stand to benefit from a broader reopening of the economy and economic growth also did well. Norwegian Cruise Line jumped 7.2% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 as it seeks permission to restart cruises out of U.S. ports in July with a vaccination requirement for passengers and crew members. Rival Carnival rose 4.8% and Royal Caribbean gained 3.5%.

Technology stocks powered much of the gains Monday. Apple rose 2.1% and Microsoft gained 2.5%. Tesla surprised investors with a report that vehicle deliveries doubled during the first quarter. Its shares surged 5.1%.

Energy companies lagged the broader market as crude oil prices fell, including a 4.6% slide in the price of U.S. crude. Occidental Petroleum dropped 6.9% and Marathon Oil slid 5%.

GameStop fell 3.8% after announcing a stock sale.

Treasury yields were mostly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, slipped to 1.71% from 1.72% last last week.

Markets in Europe and Greater China were closed for holidays. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.8% while the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.3%.

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