By Maureen Farrell
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Stocks wrapped up one of the best weeks of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 closed higher for the sixth straight trading day and ended the week up more than 2%.
The Dow has closed at record highs for four consecutive days, and the S&P 500 is only about 1% below its all-time high. On Friday, the Dow gained 0.5%. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also rose about 0.4%.
Friday’s robust jobs report capped off a string of positive labor reports that have given investors reason to believe the economy is finally on firmer footing.
The U.S. government reported early Friday that 236,000 jobs were added to the economy in February, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%. The employment gains beat analysts’ forecasts by a wide margin.
“The employment numbers offered some confirmation that the economy is getting better,” said Giri Cherukuri, a portfolio manager at Oakbrook Investments. As long as economic data continue to show the recovery is gaining steam, Cherukuri bets that stocks will keep marching higher.
All three major indexes are already up between 7% and 10% so far this year.
The Dow’s records come just ahead of the fourth anniversary of the market’s bottom following the financial crisis.
Frank Davis, director of trading at LEK Securities, is “cautiously optimistic” that stocks will keep going up, but said he expects the pace of the gains to slow down.
In corporate news, online music streaming firm Pandora Media reported better-than-expected quarterly sales and announced that its CEO will be stepping down. Pandora’s shares soared 18%.
Athletic shoe retailer Foot Locker reported a significant increase in sales and profit for the fourth quarter. But its stock fell more than 7%.
Citigroup’s shares gained nearly 4%, after the Fed released results from its stress tests. The Fed said Citi was the big bank best prepared to weather another recession.
Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs also passed the stress tests, but shares of all three banks fell.
Shares of Skullcandy sank more than 20% after the headphone maker forecast a 30% drop in sales and said it expects to post a loss for the current quarter.
Herbalife shares edged higher after activist investor Carl Icahn increased his stake in the nutritional supplement company.
Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd sank 3%, after the cruise operator revealed that more than 100 passengers fell ill during a Caribbean cruise.
European markets closed up between 0.6% and 1.6%, fueled by the U.S. jobs data.
Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.2% and the Hang Seng added 1.4%. Japan’s Nikkei increased 2.6% after the yen extended losses, and revised data showed the country’s economy has pulled out of a shallow recession.
The dollar rose against the euro, the British pound, and the Japanese yen.
Oil prices dropped, while gold prices moved slightly higher.
The price on the 10-year Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2.06% from 1.99% Thursday.