Stocks rose Monday after an increase in hiring and improved demand at services businesses raised expectations for the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 50 points in morning trading and neared the psychological benchmark of 11,000 for the first time in 18 months. The growing confidence about the economy hurt demand for Treasurys and drove up interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to its highest level since 2008.
The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 162,000 jobs in March. It was the biggest gain since the recession began in December 2007. However, the number was fewer than the 190,000 jobs economists forecast. The stock market was closed Friday so investors didn't have a chance to trade on the report before the weekend.
Stocks are also rising following an increase in activity in U.S. services industries and a gain in pending home sales.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said that the nation's service industry rose in March to 55.4 from 53 in February. Economists had forecast a reading of 54. The growth in the service index is the fastest since ISM revised how it measured the industry in January 2008.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose 8.2 percent in February from January.
The reports added to expectations that the economy is making strides.
The government said that private employers accounted for most of the gains in jobs last month. Temporary government hiring for the 2010 U.S. census did not pad the figures as much as economists had forecast. The unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent for the third straight month.
High unemployment keeps consumers from spending and loan defaults elevated. The financial industry would get a big boost from a drop in loan losses. Consumer spending accounts for the majority of economic activity in the country.
In midmorning trading, the Dow rose 48.06, or 0.4 percent, to 10,975.13. The Dow hasn't traded above 11,000 since Sept. 29, 2008.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.25, or 0.6 percent, to 1,185.35. The Nasdaq composite index rose 20.81, or 0.9 percent, to 2,423.39.
The upbeat jobs report sent the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 3.98 percent. That's the highest level since before the credit crisis erupted in late 2008. The yield, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.98 percent from 3.94 percent late Friday. It has not eclipsed 4 percent since October 2008. The bond market had a shortened trading day Friday.
The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold rose.
Crude oil rose $1.61 to $86.48 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
More than three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 185.4 million shares, compared with 202.8 million shares traded at the same point Thursday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 8.85, or 1.3 percent, to 692.83.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.5 percent. European markets were closed for the Easter holiday.