Investors cheered the latest report on the U.S. job market Friday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average briefly above 15,000 for the first time.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were all up about 1% in afternoon trading. The S&P 500 also hit a record high, rising above 1,600.
"The round numbers are psychologically important, especially for those cautious investors sitting with their cash on the sidelines," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.
Ablin said stocks could continue moving higher as investors chase performance. Many individual investors who missed out on the rally of the past few years have been drawn back in as stocks hit new highs.
There is also a lack of alternatives for investors who hope to earn more than the meager rate on U.S. Treasuries. (See: Waiting for the bond bubble to pop)
"I'll call it a momentum effect," said Ablin.
The rally caps a solid week and good start to May for stocks, with the Dow on track for a five-day gain of 1.7%. April was another strong month, with the S&P 500 advancing for the sixth consecutive month.
Friday's gains came on the back of jobs data that was not too bad, not too good, but just right.
The U.S. economy added 165,000 jobs in April, according to the government's latest report. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.5% from the prior month's rate of 7.6%.
Both numbers were better than expected, easing concerns about a summer slowdown in the economy. But the unemployment rate still remains well above the level at which the Federal Reserve has said it will take the market's punch bowl away.
"Good numbers all around, but still shy of where they need to be to drive the economy forward or get the Fed to consider lowering its 'buying' number in the coming months," said Kevin Giddis, head of fixed-income at Raymond James.
The jobs data, which came after a string of disappointing reports this week, overshadowed less encouraging economic data released Friday.
Factory orders fell 0.4% in March, according to the Census Bureau. The report was worse than expected and came after a 1.9% drop in February. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of activity in the services sector fell in April, but remained above the level indicating growth.
What's moving: LinkedIn shares plunged after the professional-networking site offered weak second-quarter guidance.
AIG shares rose after the insurer reported earnings that beat expectations Thursday.
Shares of 3D Systems rose after office supplies retailer Staples announced plans to sell the company's 3-D printer.
Yahoo shares rose to a five-year high on renewed optimism over the Internet pioneer's turnaround plan.
Warren Buffett's investment firm Berkshire Hathaway is scheduled to release quarterly earnings after the market close.
European markets rose despite a grim economic forecast from the European Union.
The EU trimmed its forecast for the eurozone gross domestic product, to a decline of 0.4% in 2013. The forecast for 2014 was also trimmed, to a gain of 1.2%.
Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite added 1.4% and the Hang Seng increased 0.1%. Japan's Nikkei was closed for a holiday.