Stocks - Wall Street Soars as Traders Cheer Strong Jobs Report

  • Stock Market News
Stocks - Wall Street Soars as Traders Cheer Strong Jobs Report
Credit: © Reuters. – U.S. stocks shed trade and political worries Friday to surge to their highest levels since the end of November.

The catalyst was a better-than-expected jobs report from the Labor Department that showed a 266,000 increase in payroll employment , while the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.

The S&P 500 was up 0.9% on the day. The Dow Jones industrials added 1.2%, and its 337-point gain let the index finish above 28,000 for the first time since Nov. 29. The Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 indices added 1% and 1.1%, respectively. A star was the small-cap US SmallCap 2000 index, which was up 1.1% and hit a 52-week high during the day.

The major indexes ended the week basically flat from a week earlier. Friday's rally recovered the sizable losses suffered on Nov. 29, Monday and Tuesday.

For the year, the S&P 500 is up about 26%. The Dow has added 20%, and the Nasdaq has risen about 30%. There are 17 days of trading left jn the year.

Ten of the 11 S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by energy shares, up 2% in response to the rising oil prices as OPEC members agreed to cut output.

The sector saw big gains for exploration and production companies such as Apache (NYSE: APA ) and Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN ), and services companies such as Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ). Seven of the top 10 S&P performers were in the energy industry.

Financial stocks also saw sizable gains led by SVB Financial (NASDAQ: SIVB ), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) and Regions Financial (NYSE: RF ). JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ), Northern Trust (NASDAQ: NTRS ), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) and State Street (NYSE: STT ).

The one sector falling back was utilities, vulnerable to higher interest rates. The 10-Year Treasury yield rose to 1.84% from Thursday's 1.795%.

Gold mining and housing stocks also fell back.

A host of stocks hit new highs, including Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ), Nike (NYSE: NKE ), apparel retailer Zumiez (NASDAQ: ZUMZ ), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ), Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE: IR ) and Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX ).

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA ) was up 11,1% after better-than-expected quarterly results and easily led the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100.

Boeing (NYSE: BA ), up 2.4%, nonetheless contributed 57 points to the Dow's gain. Gains for Boeing, 3M (NYSE: MMM ) and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS ) contributed nearly 156 points of the Dow's gain -- or 46.2%.

Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER ) fell 2.8% after the ride-sharing company disclosed data showing about 3,000 on sexual assaults and rapes by its drivers in the United States in 2018.

Oil prices were higher after OPEC agreed to more production cuts. West Texas Intermediate crude settled up 72 cents to $59.20. Gold fell $18 to $1,465.10 an ounce in New York.

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA ), Apache (NYSE: APA ), Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN ) and contract driller Helmerich and Payne (NYSE: HP ) were among the top S&P 500 performers.

Packaging and aerospace company Ball Corp (NYSE: BLL ), home builder DR Horton (NYSE: DHI ), medical device maker Cooper Companies (NYSE: COO ) and home builder Lennar (NYSE: LEN ) were the weakest S&P 500 performers on the day.

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