REFILE-US STOCKS-S&P breaks above 1,600 after strong jobs figures

Last Updated: Fri, May 03, 2013 15:00 hrs

* S&P 500 index hits record high, breaks above 1,600

* U.S. job market shows surprising strength - non-farm payrolls report

* U.S. factory orders fall sharply in March

* Indexes up: Dow 1.2 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1.4 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, with the S&P 500 and Dow industrials hitting intraday record highs after U.S. employment rose more-than-expected in April, easing concerns about weak economic growth.

The S&P 500 index broke above 1,600 and the Dow traded above 15,000 for the first time as stocks extended this year's rally.

Non-farm payrolls rose 165,000 last month and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, a four-year low, from 7.6 percent, the Labor Department said. In addition, hiring was much stronger than previously thought in the prior two months.

Investors welcomed the gains after weeks of disappointing data, including weak manufacturing reports, that suggested the economic recovery was losing steam.

"This is the type of data that people then begin to look through some of the noise that is in the ISM data, or the PMI data," said Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York.

"When the labor markets are firming up, they feel better about that."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 174.63 points or 1.18 percent, to 15,006.21, the S&P 500 gained 20.65 points or 1.29 percent, to 1,618.24 and the Nasdaq Composite added 46.39 points or 1.39 percent, to 3,387.01.

In other economic reports on Friday, U.S. factory orders fell sharply in March while the pace of growth in the vast U.S. services sector eased in April to the slowest pace in nine months.

Mining stocks were among top gainers, including Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, up 3.4 percent at $31.36 after prices of copper posted the biggest daily gain in almost 1-1/2 years.

LinkedIn Corp shares fell nearly 9 percent to $184.46 a day after the social network reported disappointing revenue forecasts.

Wall Street was on track to end the week about 2 percent higher. On Thursday, Wall Street rallied after data showing U.S. weekly jobless claims dropped to a five-year low. Also helping was the European Central Bank's decision to cut to its benchmark interest rate to spur growth in the euro zone's economy.

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