Dow Hits 15,000 on Positive Labor-Market Data

It wasn't long ago that investors and analysts were all watching and waiting for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) to hit the 14,000 mark. And here we've reached another milestone: The index topped the 15,000 mark just an hour into trading. With the much-anticipated employment report delivering good news to the market, there's no telling how high the index could climb today.

Four-year low
That refers, of course, to the newly released unemployment rate of 7.5%. With 165,000 new jobs created in April and revisions made to prior months' figures by the Department of Labor, the jobs market is looking better than it has in a long while. Beating the expectations of analysts and economists, the influx of new jobs shows that federal budget cuts and overall economic malaise haven't negatively impacted job-creation, as many had expected.

The newest jobs data reinforces the growing sense that the recovery is at least continuing in the right direction. Earlier in the week, the ADP private-sector employment report caused some concerns, showing that small businesses were reluctant to add to their workforce in the current economic conditions. But yesterday's jobless-claims report and Challenger job cuts report both trended toward the same results we're seeing today. Both reported drops in their respective data, with new jobless claims falling to a five-year low and the Challenger report falling to pre-recession levels.

27 for 30
As of 11:15 a.m. EDT, all but three of the Dow's component stocks are in positive territory.

Financials are getting a much-needed bump this morning after growing support for new legislation seemed to weigh them down in the past few days of trading. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is up 1%. The bank falls into a category within the legislation that would require it to hold 15% of its assets in capital reserves -- a hefty amount, considering that the current regulations require 7%, with an additional 2.5% required if the bank is deemed to be growing too large.

Outside the Dow, insurer MBIA (NYSE: MBI  ) is up 11.3% after settling a legal case with lender Flagstar Bancorp (NYSE: FBC  ) over two mortgage-backed securities transactions. MBIA alleged that Flagstar misrepresented the securities, resulting in the insurer's payout of $165 million on the policies. Flagstar has agreed to pay MBIA $110 million to settle the case. This legal dispute is similar to the current battle between MBIA and Bank of America. The insurer recently lost its bid for a pretrial ruling on the case, driving the stock lower.

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