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NYSE traders Image Credit: AP

Stocks rose broadly on Wall Street in afternoon trading Monday as investors welcomed more signs that the economy is on the path to recovery.

The US government reported last week that employers went on a hiring spree in March, adding 916,000 jobs, the most since August.

Traders had a delayed reaction to the encouraging jobs report, which was released on Friday when stock trading was closed. Investors were further encouraged by a report Monday showing that the services sector recorded record growth in March as orders, hiring and prices surged.

The S&P 500 rose 1.5 per cent as of 1.57pm Eastern time and was on track for another record high after closing above the 4,000-point mark for the first time last Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 392 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 33,545 and the Nasdaq was 1.7 per cent higher.

Both employment and the services industry have been lagging other areas of the economy throughout the recovery. Analysts have said that both need to show signs of growth in order for the recovery to remain on track. COVID-19 and the potential for a spike in cases remains a concern, but the strong rollout of vaccinations is making an eventual return to normal for many people seem clearer and closer.

Tesla also surprised investors with a report that vehicle deliveries doubled during the first quarter.

Technology stocks powered much of the gains Monday. Apple rose 2.5 per cent and Microsoft gained 2.9 per cent. Tesla climbed 5.6 per cent following its encouraging report on vehicle deliveries.

Treasury yields were mostly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, slipped to 1.71 per cent from 1.72 per cent last last week.

The gains were broad, with nearly every sector rising. Companies that stand to benefit from a broader reopening of the economy and economic growth also did well. Norwegian Cruise Line jumped 7.1 per cent for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 as it seeks permission to restart cruises out of US ports in July with a vaccination requirement for passengers and crew members. Rival Carnival rose 5.7 per cent and Royal Caribbean gained 4 per cent.

Energy companies lagged the broader market as crude oil prices headed lower, including a 5 per cent slide in the price of US crude. Occidental Petroleum dropped 7.6 per cent and Marathon Oil slid 5.7 per cent.

GameStop fell 3.9 per cent after announcing a stock sale.

Markets in Europe and Greater China were closed for holidays. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.8 per cent while the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.3 per cent.