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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Stocks close after day-long rally

UPDATED at 4:12 p.m.

Stocks rode a very nice, consistent rally throughout the day, following a jobs report this morning that traders welcomed.

The Dow closed up 1.2 percent at 10,566.20, its highest close since January 20.

The broader S&P 500 closed up 1.4 percent at 1,138.69. The S&P 500 is riding a six-day winning streak.

The Nasdaq closed up 1.5 percent at 2,326.35, capping its best weekly gain since October and its best close in 18 months.

The official U.S. unemployment rate came in at 9.7 percent this morning, unchanged from January.

Stocks continue climb at midday

11:55 a.m.: Stocks continue their upward climb at midday, driven higher by this morning's unemployment report.

Just before noon, the Dow is eight-tenths of 1 percent.

The broader S&P 500 is up 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up more than 1 percent.

Traders also are eying a likely bailout -- of some form -- of Greece, combined with that nation's austerity plan. (Which, by the way, will not go over well with unions there. Expect massive strikes in the coming months. Then again, that's pretty much business-as-usual in Greece.)

The government reported this morning that the February unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 9.7 percent, with fewer jobs lost than were anticipated.

Stocks up at opening

9:35 a.m.: Stocks are up at opening this morning, as traders were pleasantly surprised about a lower-than-expected number of jobs lost in February.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow, the broader S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are all up about half of 1 percent.

The official U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged from January to February at 9.7 percent. Some 36,000 jobs were lost in February, fewer than had been expected. Check back here later as I unpack the unemployment data, as I do each month, to find the truer measure of U.S. unemployment.

A report on consumer credit is due out this afternoon at 3 p.m., which will take a look at how consumers are saving and how much they're putting on their credit cards.

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500, unemployment  
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