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U.S. stocks rallied Friday (Oct. 3) after investors read a stronger-than-expected September jobs report as reassurance that economic growth remains on track but that the Federal Reserve will move slowly to raise interest rates.

Heading into today’s close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up over 200 points.

“We had a strong jobs number and the shorts are getting taken to the woodshed because there are real buyers below waiting for opportunities,” said Jason Weisberg, a Seaport Securities managing director and floor trader on the New York Stock Exchange.

The US economy added more jobs than expected in September, while the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since July 2008, data showed Friday. The Federal Reserve closely watches employment and inflation as it sets monetary policy, and investors look to the monthly job numbers as a clue to the Fed’s timing and speed of an eventual increase in interest rates.

The reaction signaled that investors are confident that financial markets will be able to withstand any interest-rate increase by the Fed. Many money managers and traders expect the central bank to raise rates for the first time since 2006 in the middle of next year.

Friday’s gains in stocks followed four consecutive declines for the Dow. As of Thursday’s close, the Dow was down 312.1 points for the week.