After jobs report, Dow hits new high then declines a bit

Employers added 288,000 jobs in April, a surprise to analysts, who were expecting an increase of less than 220,000.

The Dow Jones industrial average hit a new record in early trading Friday before later reversing course and suffering a modest decline.

The blue-chip indicator rose more than 60 points early on to notch its second record high in the last three days following the better-than-expected jobs report.

But the index slid backward after that, and recently was down 38.62 points, or 0.2%, to 16,608.58. Boeing, Exxon Mobil and McDonald’s each rose more than 1%.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fared better, rising about 0.3% and eclipsing its April 2 record high before retreating below that mark.


The Labor Department reported that the economy added 288,000 net new jobs last month in its best performance in more than two years. The jobless rate declined to 6.3% from 6.7%, though that was due partly to fewer people looking for jobs.

Economists expected only 215,000 net jobs and a jobless rate of 6.6%.

The report indicated that the economic recovery is gaining steam and will rebound from weak first-quarter job growth that was held back by inclement weather.

Still, traders appeared to be nervous about piling in following the market’s gains in the last few weeks.

Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter