* February non-farm payrolls exceed consensus view
* Banks, materials, consumer shares lead advance
* China's consumer inflation slows to 20-month low
* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.6 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced on
Friday after another strong monthly jobs report showed the
economic recovery was expanding.
Underpinning the bullish sentiment, Greece completed the
negotiation of the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in
history, an issue that has kept investors skittish.
The S&P 500 faced strong technical resistance as it
approached its highest level in nearly four years.
Bank shares, among the most sensitive to growth expectations
and the euro-zone crisis, led the gains. The KBW bank index
rose 1.6 percent with Citigroup up 1.8 percent at
$34.59 and JPMorgan Chase up 2.1 percent at $41.29.
"There's a greater sense of confidence with the jobs number
that we got, better hope for continued economic growth," said
Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.
He said the Greek deal also helps lift stocks as it "removes
a little bit of European financial risk from the markets in the
Despite a broad rally in the U.S. dollar, which could
pressure the prices of greenback-denominated commodities, an
index of basic materials shares advanced alongside the
Reuters/Jefferies commodities index. The gains underscore
the current focus on the U.S. economic recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 39.17 points,
or 0.30 percent, to 12,947.11. The S&P 500 Index gained
7.75 points, or 0.57 percent, to 1,373.66. The Nasdaq Composite
rose 20.31 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,990.73.
Exactly three years ago, the S&P 500 posted a 12-year
closing low at 676.53 during the height of the financial crisis.
The index has more than doubled since then, although it stalled
last year before resuming a rally in 2012.
U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs to their payrolls in
February, government data showed, while the unemployment rate
held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent even as people flooded
back into the labor force to hunt for jobs.
Shares of Monster Worldwide Inc, an online
employment agency whose stock is sensitive to changes in the
employment outlook, rose 5.1 percent to $9.05.
More than 80 percent of the issues in the S&P consumer
discretionary sector index rose, underscoring investors'
bets that the jobs recovery will boost consumer spending, a
pillar of the U.S. economy. The sector's index rose 0.7 percent.
Strength in homebuilders' shares, seen earlier in the week,
continued, with the Dow Jones U.S. home construction index
up 4.1 percent. Credit Suisse raised its
recommendation on three big U.S. home builders - DR Horton
, Lennar and Toll Brothers - to
"outperform" from "neutral."
In the beverage sector, though, Green Mountain Coffee
Roasters Inc sank 15.8 percent to $52.52 on fears it
may lose its near monopoly in the U.S. single-cup coffee market
after Starbucks Corp outlined plans to launch a rival
coffee machine. Starbucks rose 3.6 percent to $52.15.
Among the signs that China's economy appears likely to avoid
a hard landing, the country's annual rate of consumer inflation
slowed to a 20-month low in February, while factory output and
retail sales also cooled. The data give policymakers ample room
to further loosen monetary policy, analysts said.