In Tokyo, where the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were meeting, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned that the global economic recovery is weaker than many had expected. She called for urgent action to fix Europe's debt problems and an approaching fiscal crisis in the U.S.
Even the jobs news wasn't enough to persuade everyone. The Labor Department said that weekly applications for unemployment aid fell to their lowest level since February 2008, before the financial crisis. But the unemployment rate is still much higher than it was then — 7.8 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in February 2008. The labor force participation rate is also lower, meaning some unemployed workers have simply given up looking for work, which can make the jobless numbers seem better than they really are.
One stock that made a big move up was Sprint Nextel. Shares soared 15 percent, rising 76 cents to $5.80, after a report that the company could be bought by Softbank, a Japanese cell phone provider.