Stocks: Jobs Report, Fed's Powell Help Boost S&P 500

  • Forex News
Stocks: Jobs Report, Fed's Powell Help Boost S&P 500
Credit: © Reuters. – Stocks moved mostly higher on Friday, thanks in part to a decent jobs report and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's continued assurance the central bank stands ready to support the economic expansion.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, with the Dow Jones industrials up 0.26%. The NASDAQ Composite slipped to a small loss at the end of the day because of weakness in (NASDAQ: AMZN ), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ).

Plus, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow suggested it may take some time to get a trade deal with China. Tech stocks are heavily exposed to China. Stocks had soared Wednesday and Thursday on news that U.S. and Chinese negotiators expect to meet next month in Washington, D.C.

The major averages finished higher for a second straight week. The S&P 500 was up 1.8% on the week. The Dow added 1.5% and the Nasdaq was up 1.76%. A week ago, the S&P 500 was up 2.8%, with the Dow up 3% and the Nasdaq up 2.7%.

The August jobs report showed payroll employment added 130,000 jobs in August, less than expected, and the U.S. unemployment rate held at 3.7%. The employment figure would have been lower except for 25,000 workers put on the government payroll to prepare for the 2020 census. Payroll estimates for June and July were revised lower.

But the report did not suggest a recession was in the offing.

Indeed, Fed Chairman Powell, speaking in Switzerland, said the economy is healthy and not in danger of falling into a recession. His remarks followed the usual tweets from President Trump calling for deep rate cuts when the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee meets Sept. 17-18. The central bank is expected to cut its key federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point – not as much as the president wants.

Telecom, energy, materials and staples stocks led the market. Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST ), Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) and Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT ) all hit 52-week highs.

Cyber security company Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC ) was up 4.5% after The Wall Street Journal reported that two private companies (Permira and Advent International) had approached the company about taking it private at $26 to $27 a share, valuing the company at about $16 billion. Symantec already has a deal to sell its enterprise business to Broadcom (NASDAQ: AVGO ) for $10.7 billion and that deal is near to being closed.

And pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt (NYSE: MNK ) jumped 17.6% after announcing it will pay $24 million in cash to settle opioid-related cases in two Ohio counties.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ), Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM ) led the Dow , with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ), Walmart (NYSE: WMT ) and American Express (NYSE: AXP ) the laggards.

Energy shares moved as West Texas Intermediate crude moved up 22 cents to $56.52 a barrel, ending the week up 2.6%. Brent crude rose 59 cents to $61.54 and gained nearly 3.9% this week. Gold moved lower, with futures in New York, closing at $1,515.50 an ounce, down $10.

Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC ), over-the-counter drug company Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO ), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN ) and Tapestry (NYSE: TPR ), owner of the Coach and Kate Spade businesses, were among the top S&P 500 performers on Friday.

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD ), Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST ), electric utility WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC ) and oil-and-gas company TechnipFMC (NYSE: FTI ) were among the S&P 500 laggards.

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