Job Gains Propel Dow Over 15,000

Drop in unemployment helps push Wall Street to new high.

A better than hoped for reading on the job market today propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 15,000 for the first time.

After about an hour of trading on Wall Street, the Dow was up 1.1 percent, or 169.24 points, to 15,000.82. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was even stronger, rising 1.5 percent, or 11.40 points, to 759.88 after peaking at a new high of 760.52 in early trading.

Among the fashion companies gaining ground were Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., up 3.9 percent to $59.26; Macy’s Inc., 3.3 percent to $46.26; Saks Inc., 3.1 percent to $11.73, and The Jones Group Inc., 2.8 percent to $13.76.

Markets have been flirting with new highs in recent weeks, but U.S. investors lacked a compelling reason to push boldly into new territory given that the economic recovery is still uncertain. Continuing troubles in Europe have also kept a damper on sentiment.

But the Labor Department said today the U.S. added 165,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent — its lowest level since December 2008. Both readings topped the expectations of economists, who collectively projected job growth of 160,000 and no change in the unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

In Europe, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 1.8 percent to 8,107.72, as Paris’ CAC 40 increased 1.1 percent to 3,902.92, London’s FTSE 100 gained 1.1 percent to 6,532.97 and Milan’s FTSE MIB rose 0.7 percent to 16,857.26.