Dow hits another high on latest hiring report

NEW YORK — An unexpectedly strong jobs report gave stocks a lift on Friday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average back to an all-time high.

The gains were led by banks, such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, which stand to benefit from a pickup in lending as the economy strengthens. Consumer-focused stocks such as Priceline.com and Disney also rose after reporting higher profits. Losers included housing stocks and Twitter, which dropped 7 percent a day after its initial public offering.

Friday’s jobs report left investors grappling with how to interpret this week’s good economic news and what it means for the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program. That program has helped power the stock rally.

The Dow gained 167.80, or 1.1 percent, to 15,761.78, two days after hitting its previous record high. The S&P 500 index ended 23.46 higher, or 1.3 percent, at 1,770.61. The Nasdaq rose 61.90, or 1.6 percent, to 3,919.23.

US consumer spending slows to 0.2% increase

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers slowed their spending in September, even as overall income grew at solid pace for the second straight month.

Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in September, after at 0.3 percent gain the previous month, the Commerce Department said Friday. Americans cut spending on long-lasting manufactured goods 1.3 percent. That partly reflected a drop in auto sales.

Income rose 0.5 percent in September, matching the August gain. The increases in both months were the strongest since February. September’s gain was helped by the end of government furloughs, which had reduced federal pay in the previous two months.

The gain in income and the slowdown in spending meant consumers saved 4.9 percent of their after-tax income, up from 4.7 percent in August.

Home Depot says it’s sorry for racist tweet

NEW YORK — Home Depot Inc. has apologized for a tweet that showed a picture of two African-American drummers with a person in a gorilla mask in between them and asked: “Which drummer is not like the others?”

The tweet, from Home Depot’s official Twitter account, was part of a “College Gameday” football promotion on ESPN. It was quickly pulled, but not before people took screen shots of it and it was widely circulated on social media. NBC and CNBC, among others, reported on the tweet.

Home Depot said Friday it has fired the person and outside agency responsible, but it didn’t disclose their names.

SAC pleads guilty in NY in a record $1.8B deal

NEW YORK — SAC Capital Advisors has pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges in a record $1.8 billion deal with the government.

The company’s longtime general counsel Peter Nussbaum entered the plea to wire fraud and securities fraud Friday in Manhattan. But a federal judge didn’t immediately accept the plea, saying she’d wait until a probation report is made.

The plea comes four days after the federal government announced it had reached a deal requiring the largest penalty ever for insider trading. The deal requires the Stamford, Conn.-based hedge fund to close its business to outside investors. It also allows prosecutors to continue its criminal investigation and spares no individuals from scrutiny, including its founder, Steven A. Cohen.

Cohen was accused by federal regulators over the summer in a civil action of failing to prevent insider trading at the company. He has disputed the allegations.

Fed plans to deal with insolvent large banks

WASHINGTON — Chairman Ben Bernanke says the Federal Reserve is drafting rules to close large insolvent banks without bringing down the broader financial system, one of many steps regulators must take to prevent another financial crisis.

Bernanke says the absence of a process to deal with systemically important institutions in 2008 left regulators facing the “terrible choices of a bailout or allowing a potentially destabilizing collapse.” Bernanke made the comments at a conference sponsored by the International Monetary Fund.

The financial overhaul passed by Congress in 2010 gave regulators better tools to close down large institutions, he said. The Fed and others are working to implement those rules.

Wire reports