Stocks are closing higher as investors hope that a slowdown in hiring last month will prompt the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low for longer, the AP reports. Utilities rose more than the rest of the market Friday. High-dividend stocks like utilities would benefit from low interest rates as investors seek them out for income. Energy companies also outpaced the market as the price of crude oil rose for the first time this week.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72 points, or 0.4%, to 18,491. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained nine points, or 0.4%, to 2,179. The Nasdaq composite rose 22 points, or 0.4%, to 5,249. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.60%. (Read more stock market stories.)