Stocks end at historic highs, spurred by upbeat jobs data

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By JeeYeon Park

Stocks closed out the week with a bang, with the Dow briefly topping 15,000 for the first time, as Wall Street cheered a better-than-expected April employment report.

All three major indexes -- the Dow Jones industrials, the broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq -- finished sharply higher for the week, with the Dow and S&P advancing to all-time closing highs.

"It's going to be the first time we put two weeks together in a row to the upside in about eight weeks…so that's the good news," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets. "The bad news is that we've run out of catalysts next week—earnings season is virtually over and the macro is very quiet."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up about 143 points, propelled by Caterpillar and Alcoa. Earlier, the index crossed above 15,000 for the first time. It took the blue-chip index nearly six years to cross 15,000 after it first topped 14,000.

The S&P 500 easily surpassed 1,600 and the Nasdaq also rallied. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slumped below 13.

Most key S&P sectors ended in positive territory, led by materials and energy. Telecoms slipped.

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U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April, according to the Labor Department, while the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent. Economists in a Reuters poll expected a reading of 145,000 and unemployment to hold steady at 7.6 percent.

"The [jobs] number beat consensus and also importantly, the revision from last month tells the story of a not-as-sluggish labor market," said Troy Logan, managing director and senior economist at Warren Financial Service. "However, the unemployment rate is still high. So that tells us that the Fed is going to continue with its accommodative policy – that means we have Fed support, which is good for asset prices and a jobs market which is not getting worse."

On Wednesday, the Fed said it was prepared to "increase or reduce" the monthly pace of its $85 billion in bond purchases, after its Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting.

(Read More: Roubini: Fed Risking Sequel to 2008 Financial Crisis)

Global markets cheered the employment report, with European shares turning decisively higher and the dollar jumping against the euro and the yen. Oil prices rallied, while gold, often viewed as a safe haven, slid near $1,460 an ounce. Treasury prices also declined.

More than 80 percent of S&P 500 companies have posted quarterly results so far, with 68 percent topping earnings expectations and 21 percent missing forecasts, according to Reuters. If all remaining companies post numbers in line with estimates, earnings will be up 5.2 percent on last year.

But on average, sales have come in 1 percent below estimates, with only 46 percent of companies beating their revenue projections.

Reuters contributed to this report.