US stocks have risen in a broad-based rally as stronger-than-expected job growth in April coupled with muted wage gains left investors upbeat about the outlook for the economy and interest rates.
The Nasdaq registered a record high close, while the S&P 500 ended just shy of a record high finish on Friday.
The Labor Department said employers added 263,000 jobs in April, which blew past expectations, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 per cent, the lowest level since December 1969. Average hourly earnings came in just shy of expectations, indicating muted inflationary pressure.
The data supports the Federal Reserve’s patient stance towards raising interest rates, which is a positive for stocks.
“We continue to have stronger and stronger job growth, and it seems like there’s less and less inflation, which is really odd. You typically don’t see that, and basically what that signals to the market is that the Fed is on hold,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner of Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia. “That could portend for better earnings in the future for companies.”
Boosting the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, Amazon.com rose 3.2 per cent after CNBC reported that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has bought shares of the internet retailing giant for the first time.
The consumer discretionary sector rose 1.5 per cent, leading a rally among the 11 major S&P sectors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 197.16 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 26,504.95 on Friday; the S&P 500 gained 28.12 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 2,945.64; and the Nasdaq Composite added 127.22 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 8,164.00.
For the week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 0.2 per cent while the Dow slipped 0.2 per cent.
With nearly 400 S&P 500 companies having reported quarterly results so far, three-quarters have topped profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
The upbeat reports have turned around the S&P 500 earnings estimate for the first quarter to a rise of almost 1 per cent compared with the 2 per cent decline projected at the start of April.
Newell Brand shares jumped 13.5 per cent after the maker of Rubbermaid and other consumer goods exceeded Wall Street expectations for quarterly adjusted profit as it benefited from cost savings and higher pricing.
Network gear-maker Arista Networks tumbled 10.4 per cent after it forecast weak current-quarter revenue while Activision Blizzard fell 4.8 per cent after the videogame-maker forecast a current-quarter profit below expectations as it puts more money into its franchises to battle competition.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.77-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, a 3.85-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 36 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 30 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 6.47 billion shares compared with the 6.62 billion average for the full session over the past 20 trading days.