A sharp decline in U.S. payrolls wasn't enough to keep investors from pushing stock prices higher on Friday. As a result, the markets posted their first weekly gains in more than a month.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 217.52 points to 8280.59, its third triple digit gain in the past four sessions. The NASDAQ composite index rose 45.47 points to 1591.71 and the S&P 500 stock index was up 22.75 points to 868.60.
For the week, the NASDAQ gained 7.8 percent, the S&P 500 was up 5.2 percent and the Dow added 3.5 percent.
The Labor Department reported that payrolls declined by 598,000 in January, the biggest monthly decline sine 1974. And, the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent.
The news that the jobless situation was getting worse raised the possibility that Congress may move ahead quickly to pass an economic stimulus package and deal with the banking problems. That sent financial stocks higher led by Bank of America, up $1.29 to $6.13.
Oil prices fell $1.00 to $40.17 a barrel. For the week, crude was down 3.6 percent.