NEW YORK - U.S. stocks are opening sharply higher after the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest in two years.
Before the market opened Friday, the Labor Department said companies hired 243,000 employees in January, the strongest job growth in nine months. The increase in hiring pushed the unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent.
The S&P 500 index added 11 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,337. The S&P 500 is on track to rise for the fifth straight week, the longest weekly winning streak since January of 2011.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 108 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,812.
The Nasdaq rose 27 points to 2,887. The U.S. jobs figures helped stocks and the euro to rally on Friday despite further evidence that the 17-country eurozone is heading for recession.