Stocks Open Higher after Jobs Data Beats

U.S. stocks started sharply higher on Friday after an unexpectedly strong April jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately climbed 142.76 points, or 0.96%, to 14,974.34. The S&P 500 index rose 17.24 points, or 1.08%, to 1,614.83. The Nasdaq Composite gained 42.89 points, or 1.28%, to 3,383.51.

The Labor Department said a net 165,000 jobs were created in April, above the market expectations for 140,000. That helped bring the unemployment rate down to 7.5 percent, the lowest in four years.

Moody’s Corp. (MCO) ‘sfirst-quarter earnings rose 8.6% as the ratings and analytics company continued to benefit from strong corporate-finance results, driven by speculative-grade bank loan and bond issuance. Moody’s raised its view for the year, now expecting $3.49 to $3.59 from its prior view of $3.45 to $3.55 a share.

Duke Energy Corp.’s (DUK) first-quarter earnings soared as the utility giant benefited from a recent merger with Progress Energy Inc. Duke Energy reported a profit of $634 million, or 89 cents a share, up from $295 million, or 66 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding acquisition-related charges and other items, earnings fell to $1.02 from $1.13 a share. Operating revenue jumped 62% to $5.9 billion.

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