S&P 500 Posts Third Straight Week of Gains

By Corrie Driebusch and Jon Sindreu Features Dow Jones Newswires

Solid corporate earnings and a slightly stronger-than-expected April jobs report lifted the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite to fresh records.

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Hiring data released by the Labor Department on Friday bolstered the case that the broader economy is strengthening after some weak signals earlier this year.

Still, many investors and the Federal Reserve brushed off concerns about the U.S. economy's soft first-quarter patch and this past week the Fed suggested it is committed to tightening monetary policy. Friday's jobs report encouraged more confidence in the stock market, some investors and analysts said.

"It calms the folks that thought we were headed toward a labor market slowdown," said Sameer Samana, global quantitative and technical strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The S&P 500 rose 9.77 points, or 0.4%, to 2399.29. The Nasdaq Composite gained 25.42 points, or 0.4%, to 6100.76, its third record close of the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 55.47 points, or 0.3%, to 21006.94. All three indexes posted a third consecutive week of gains.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped slightly to 2.352% after the release of the report, from 2.354% on Thursday.

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Also benefiting stocks: growth in corporate earnings.

Technology companies have posted some of the strongest earnings growth, with the S&P 500 sector on track to grow 17% from a year ago, according to FactSet. The sector rose 1.4% for the week and remains the best performer in the broader index year-to-date, up 16% in 2017.

"In an economy with 2% or 2.5% growth, these companies are growing at double digits. They're going to be the engines of growth for the economy, " said Ketu Desai, principal at i-squared Wealth Management.

Gains in tech shares helped offset a steep drop in the energy sector.

U.S. crude prices fell 6.3% to $46.22 in the last week, falling to their lowest levels since November. Most of the drop followed data released on Wednesday that showed a smaller-than-expected decline in U.S. oil inventories and rising production.

Write to Corrie Driebusch at corrie.driebusch@wsj.com and Jon Sindreu at jon.sindreu@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2017 17:20 ET (21:20 GMT)