Dow pops above 17,000, S&P 500 at record as jobs jump

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's holiday-shortened session ended with multiple records on Thursday, with the Dow topping 17,000 for the first time after the June jobs report came in much stronger than expected. Both the Dow and S&P 500 ended at their third consecutive record highs. The Nasdaq closed at its highest since 2000 and rose for a third straight week.

The three major indexes wrapped up a week of solid gains. Regular trading ended at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in the United Stateson the day before the Independence Day holiday, when the U.S. stock market will be closed.

The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June, racing past the 212,000 that economists had expected. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008, confirming expectations that the economy bounced back in the second quarter after a dismal start to the year.

Thursday's gains were broad, with nine of the 10 primary S&P 500 sector indexes rising for the day. The only negative group was utilities, down 1.1 percent. The utilities sector struggled as the June jobs data suggested that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates earlier than had previously been anticipated. I

investors favour utilities in a low interest-rate environment because the sector is a dividend play.

"The report was very good and a real sign the economy is starting to take off," said David Kelly, chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in New York, which has about $450 billion in assets under management. "That said, it isn't an unmixed positive for the market because it suggests the Fed will consider raising rates in the first quarter."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 92.02 points or 0.54 percent, to 17,068.26. The S&P 500 gained 10.82 points or 0.55 percent, to 1,985.44. The Nasdaq Composite added 28.19 points or 0.63 percent, to 4,485.93.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 advanced 1.25 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 2 percent. With the week's gains, the Nasdaq has gained for seven of the past eight weeks, rising more than 10 percent over that period.