Why the Nasdaq's at an 11-Year High Today

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A much-better-than-expected jobs report sent the entire stock market soaring, but the possibility of seeing true strength in an economic recovery was especially good for technology stocks. As of 3:15 p.m. EST today, the Nasdaq Composite (INDEX: ^IXIC) was trading at its highest level since December 2000, up 47 points to 2,907.

Yet while tech stocks were broadly higher, most of the leaders in the index were outside the tech sector. Biotech Gilead Sciences (NAS: GILD) vaulted higher on news that its GS-7977 drug to treat hepatitis C showed extremely positive results in a study. The news overcame a mixed quarterly report, in which Gilead said revenue grew but earnings fell short of estimates.

Retailer Urban Outfitters (NAS: URBN) soared more than 5% after saying yesterday that it would bring back Tedford Marlow, who retired from his role as president of the Urban Outfitters brand in 2010, to assume his previous post. He'll work under founder Richard Hayne, who took over the CEO role last month. Urban Outfitters also got an upgrade from an analyst on the news.

Steel Dynamics (NAS: STLD) rose almost 4% in afternoon trading. Unlike many steel companies, Steel Dynamics focuses mostly on the U.S. market, so an improvement in the economic picture here helps it even more than it helps more global players in the industry.

Among the few declining stocks in the Nasdaq was Wynn Resorts (NAS: WYNN) , falling almost 5% after releasing earnings last night. The casino operator saw slower growth in Macau during the fourth quarter, and as Fool gaming analyst Travis Hoium pointed out, that suggests that interest is moving to the Cotai Strip, where competitors are performing well. Wynn is planning a Cotai development of its own, but time seems to be of the essence.

You can find some very strong stocks on the Nasdaq. In fact, The Motley Fool turned to the Nasdaq exchange for its top stock pick for 2012. Learn everything you need to know about this promising stock in the Fool's latest special report. Click here and get it for free, but don't wait -- it won't be available for long, so get your copy now.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Gilead Sciences. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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