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A stronger-than-expected jobs market helped drive stock market to fresh record highs this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) climbed 1.78% this week and crossed 15,000 for the first time on Friday. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) was up 2.03% on its way to its first close above 1,600.
There was a slow move higher early in the week, but on Friday both indexes jumped 1% after the Labor Department issued a solid jobs report. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April and 114,000 more in February and March than previous surveys suggested. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5% for the first time since 2008.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) was the biggest winner on the Dow, climbing 5.4% this week. The big takeaway was Mr. Softy's strong showing in the tablet market, a space few thought it would be able to compete in the long term. Research firm IDC said the company shipped 900,000 Surface tablets during the first quarter, driven by the launch of the Surface Pro. That's flat sequentially and shows a slight increase in market share to 1.8% of the market. More impressively, Windows' share of tablet operating systems was up to 4.7% from just 1% a year ago. Windows 8 and its mobile versions are gaining traction, and that's driving Microsoft higher.
IBM (NYSE: IBM ) jumped 5.2% this week after the company increased its share buyback program by $5 billion and increased its dividend payment from $0.85 to $0.95 per quarter. In an interview late this week, Warren Buffett said he wouldn't be selling shares of IBM after the company's disappointing earnings in the first quarter. He also said he "may have added a little bit" of the company's stock in the first quarter, another long-term positive for the tech giant.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) rounds out the top three with a 4.7% gain this week. The stock was sparked on Monday by a $195.3 million international box office for Iron Man 3 over the weekend. The film opened in U.S. theaters yesterday and is forecast to pull in $177 million in the first three days its open. This is just the tip of Disney's business model, and Iron Man and the rest of Marvel's characters will continue to generate profits for years to come. This blockbuster only solidified that model, and investors were certainly buying into it this week.
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