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Markets

Dow Jones jumps above 17,000 points on US jobs data

New York's Dow Jones stock market index has reached an all-time high, trading above the threshold of 17,000 points. Investors sought US shares amid signs of accelerating growth in the US, bolstered by strong jobs data.

On Wall Street in New York on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index traded above 17,000 for the first time, gaining 0.4 percent to reach 17,043 points in early trading. The S&P 500 index of smaller cap shares also hit a record, rising 0.3 percent to 1,981 points.

On a global scale, MSCI's all-country world index, which covers about 85 percent of potential global stock investments, rose 0.22 percent to a record high. European shares climbed to within sight of multi-year highs.

The new records were set as US employment growth jumped in June and the jobless rate closed in on a six-year low, providing fresh evidence that the US economy has regained momentum after a surprise slump at the start of the year.

US non-farm payrolls increased by 288,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, its lowest level since September 2008, according to figures released by the US Labor Department on Thursday. Adding to the good news, data for April and May were revised upward to show that 29,000 more jobs were created than previously reported.

"The U.S. continues to be among the leaders of the wider global recovery, and these non-farm payrolls should be supportive for equities in general," Nick Peters, portfolio manager at Fidelity Solutions, told Reuters news agency.

More leeway for the US Fed

According to Labor Department data, the 1.4 million jobs added from January to June was the strongest first-half payroll growth since 1999, and job growth was above 200,000 for five consecutive months.

The strong employment report may encourage the US Federal Reserve Bank (US Fed) to reduce its monthly purchases of government-linked bonds, which the central bank has used to inject cash into investment markets.

The US Fed launched the third round of its current bond-buying program, known as 'quantitative easing', in September 2012. The program is set to end late this year, after being trimmed to $35 billion (25.7 billion euros) this month, down from $85 billion in December. The US Fed has made any tightening of its monetary policy conditional on a significant reduction in unemployment and a robustly growing economy.

uhe/nz (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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