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‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal, Jobs Report Push Stocks Higher

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The markets ended the week higher, with the S&P closing at its highest level since 2007, before the financial crisis. The index closed the session at 1,466.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 43 points Friday, while the Nasdaq rose just one point, held back by a decline in Apple.
 
Stocks ended higher Friday partly because the government's December employment report, which shows employers added 155,000 jobs -- enough to keep the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent.

For the week, the markets surged following the deal to avert the fiscal cliff.  The Dow Jones industrial average has had its biggest weekly advance in more than six months. Economist Guy Berger with RBS Securities says more good signs may be coming from Europe.

"We're definitely out of the -- at least for now -- we're out of the extreme crisis mode in Europe," he says.

But Berger foresees more slow continued growth in the year ahead.
 
"[This year] if we avoid the crises from the fiscal situation, or from Europe looks probably a lot like 2012 and 2011 did," he says.
 
Still, he adds that slow growth is better than no growth.
 
"Large parts of the economy are still expanding, maybe not as fast as everybody would like, but you know we're moving forwards not backwards," he says.

Berger says the next hurdle for Capitol Hill is to raise the debt ceiling, so the government doesn't go into default.
 
"The longer we go without this getting resolved the more the markets are going to get worried that we're going to be in potentially very harmful situation in the U.S. economy if the debt ceiling doesn't get raised," Berger cautions.
 
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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