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US markets jump on back of strong economic data

The US markets jumped on Friday, extending gains for the fifth week that lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 14,000 for the first time in five years after reports on jobs and manufacturing brightened Wall Street's view of the economic recovery. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard stated that he will urge reducing the pace of central bank asset purchases by the middle of the year if US growth picks up as he expects. Bullard backed the Federal Open Market Committee decision this week to continue purchasing securities at the rate of $85 billion a month, the third round of a policy known as quantitative easing or QE, after growth stalled last quarter. The US created a modest 157,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate ticked up, but the economy added one-third of a million more positions in 2012 than previously thought, with a large chunk coming in the final months of the year. The latest employment figures show hiring was stronger in both 2012 and 2011 than initially believed, based on tax returns not initially available to the government. And job growth was sharply higher in the fourth quarter, according to Labor Department data released.

Besides, the nation's manufacturing firms increased activity in January at the fastest pace since April, according to a closely followed survey of top executives released. The Institute for Supply Management index rose to 53.1% from 50.2% in December, and above the 51.0% expected. Readings over 50% in the ISM diffusion index indicate that more firms are growing than contracting. The ISM tracks the breadth of growth across firms, asking purchasing managers if business is better this month than last. Also, a gauge of consumer sentiment rose in January more than Wall Street had expected, but overall levels remained relatively low with respondents concerned over higher payroll taxes, according to data released. The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters sentiment gauge rose to a final January reading of 73.8, up from 72.9 in December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 149.21 points or 1.08 percent to 14,009.80, the Nasdaq added 36.97 points or 1.18 percent to 3,179.10 and the S&P 500 was up by 15.06 points or 1.01 percent to 1,513.17.

Indian ADRs closed mostly in green on Friday, ICICI Bank was up 1.96%, Dr. Reddy's Lab was up 0.63%, HDFC Bank was up by 0.50% and Tata Motors was up 0.23%. On the other hand, Tata Communications was down 0.08%.

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