Dow has best finish since March as benchmarks rise for the week
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U.S. stocks finished higher Friday and for the week with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closing at records as investors weighed a stronger-than-expected April employment report against uncertainty of the outcome of the French presidential election on Sunday.
The S&P 500 index finished up 9.77 points, or 0.4%, at 2,399.29, its first record close since March 1. Nine of the 11 main sectors finished higher, led by gains in energy, telecom and materials. Financials and health-care stocks edged fractionally lower.
The Nasdaq Composite Index also saw a record finish, rising 25.42 points, or 0.4%, to end at 6,100.76.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 55.47 points, or 0.3%, to close at 21,006.94, its first close above the 21,000 mark since early March. A 27-point drag came from shares of International Business Machines Corp.(IBM), which finished down 2.5% following news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway sold about one-third of its stake (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/warren-buffett-tells-cnbc-hes-dumped-a-third-of-stake-in-ibm-2017-05-04).
(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/warren-buffett-tells-cnbc-hes-dumped-a-third-of-stake-in-ibm-2017-05-04)Read:6 topics Warren Buffett can't avoid at Berkshire's annual meeting (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-things-to-watch-when-warren-buffett-hosts-berkshires-annual-meeting-2017-05-05)
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All three benchmarks notched weekly gains with the Dow up 0.3%, the S&P 500 up 0.6%, and the Nasdaq rising 0.9%.
"This jobs report indicates that the job market remains healthy, underlining that the economy continues to grow at a solid, but not spectacular rate," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.
Weak wage growth in the jobs report, however, is still a concern, said Ian Winer, director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.
"It is sort of the same theme about a secular change in the economy," Winer said. "Due to technology and automation, wages are not going to grow, and that's a big headwind to [interest] rates growing and you see financials down so the market does not see a lot of 'reflation' going on."
On Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude rebounded, settling up 1.5% at $46.22 a barrel (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-gains-for-the-day-but-drops-over-6-for-the-week-2017-05-05).
Baker Hughes (BHI) showed on Friday that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil increased by 6 to 703 rigs this week--the 16th straight weekly increase in rigs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/baker-hughes-data-show-us-oil-rig-count-has-climbed-above-700-2017-05-05), but the crude contract held on to modest gains following the report.
Investors will keep a close eye on the euro as the French head to the polls on Sunday to participate in the final round of the country's presidential election, where centrist Emmanuel Macron will face off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has said she would pull the country from out of the European Union, a potentially destabilizing move for markets.
The market has already priced in a win for Macron, Winer said, predicting that a LePen win would be a "shock event" and likely send stocks down 2% on Monday.
Read:Brace for market mayhem if Le Pen unexpectedly wins French presidency (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brace-for-market-mayhem-if-le-pen-unexpectedly-wins-french-presidency-2017-05-04)
Also read:OPEC faces high-stakes decision as oil wavers around 5-month low (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-faces-high-stakes-decision-as-oil-drops-to-5-month-low-2017-05-04)
(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-faces-high-stakes-decision-as-oil-drops-to-5-month-low-2017-05-04)Economy in focus: Hiring rebounded from a wobbly showing in March, offering fresh evidence (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-creates-211000-jobs-in-april-as-hiring-rebounds-2017-03-10) the U.S. economy is still growing at healthy clip and paving the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates soon.
See:Analysts say 'wow!" to 'strong' April payrolls report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/analysts-say-wow-to-strong-april-payrolls-report-2017-05-05)
Fed speakers: Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said at the Hoover Institution monetary policy conference at Stanford University that central bank policy cannot be rules-based (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-fischer-says-central-bank-policy-cannot-be-rules-based-2017-05-05) and that policy makers needed the freedom to depart from guidelines if circumstances warranted.
San Francisco Fed President John Williams said Friday the central bank should change its strategy concerning inflation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-williams-backs-changing-central-banks-strategy-to-price-level-targeting-2017-05-05), allowing it to run high to make up for periods when it was too low.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Friday that the central bank's balance sheet could be lowered to $2 trillion from $4.5 trillion.
Meanwhile, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said a lack of opportunity and discrimination in the workplace may be holding back women's pay (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/yellen-says-a-lack-of-opportunity-and-family-issues-holding-back-women-in-job-market-2017-05-05).
Read:Which Fed members to watch in a clutch of appearances on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-returns-to-pulpit-with-six-speeches-friday-2017-05-04)
Stock movers: Shake Shack Inc.(SHAK) shares finished up 9.2% even as the burger chain reported falling same-restaurant sales late Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shake-shack-shares-plunge-as-company-sales-growth-slackens-2017-05-04).
Activision Blizzard Inc.(ATVI) shares rose 1.4% after the videogame developer's earnings beat forecasts, but reported fewer users (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/activision-blizzard-beats-quarterly-expectations-but-reports-fewer-users-2017-05-04).
Shares of Zynga Inc.(ZNGA) jumped nearly 13% after earnings from the social-gaming company beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zynga-jumps-7-after-earnings-beat-2017-05-04).
Chesapeake Energy Corp.(CHK) shares surged 6.4% after analysts provided an upbeat opinion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chesapeake-energy-shares-rally-as-analysts-welcome-first-quarter-earnings-2017-05-05) on the energy company following earnings.
Revlon Inc.(REV) shares dropped nearly 24% after the beauty company reported quarterly results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/revlon-shares-plummet-after-earnings-slide-2017-05-05).
Other markets: Chinese stocks finished 0.7% lower on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinese-stocks-drop-on-falling-commodity-prices-2017-05-04), pressured by worries the country's crackdown on speculators and borrowing could weigh on demand for metals. The most actively traded iron-ore futures contract opened sharply lower on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, after tumbling by the 8% daily limit on Thursday.
European stocks finished at a 21-month high ahead (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-fall-from-21-month-high-ahead-of-us-jobs-french-election-2017-05-05)of the French presidential election. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/emmanuel-macron-5-things-to-know-about-the-man-poised-to-be-frances-president-2017-04-24) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-you-dont-know-about-marine-le-penfrances-trump-2017-05-04)
And:European equities a buy, but watch for this Trump risk: Eaton Vance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-equities-a-buy-but-trump-policy-inaction-a-risk-eaton-vance-2017-05-03)
Gold (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-price-inches-higher-ahead-of-us-jobs-report-2017-05-05) settled down 0.1% at $1,226.90 an ounce, while the ICE Dollar Index was down 0.1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped less than a basis point to 2.349%.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 05, 2017 16:41 ET (20:41 GMT)