Apple Results, Jobs Report Buoy Stocks

By David Hodari and Corrie Driebusch Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks hold steady after jobs report

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-- Apple shares jump

-- Spanish stocks drop on political tensions

Technology shares led stocks higher Friday, boosted by a jump in Apple after the tech giant delivered its best quarterly growth in two years.

Friday's rise helped all three major U.S. indexes notch gains over a week in which investors faced a string of potentially market-moving announcements, from the House Republicans' plans for tax overhaul, to a Federal Reserve meeting to the October jobs report.

"Whether the new Fed chair, the tax reform plan, or the nonfarm payrolls today, the market keeps grinding higher," said Nicholas Angilletta, head of capital markets for Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Americas. "Investors don't want to miss the next new high tomorrow."

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7%, outpacing gains in the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, which were up 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively. Earlier this week, the Nasdaq closed at its 62nd record of the year, tying 1980 for the most closing highs in a calendar year.

Apple shares jumped 2.6% on Friday, putting its year-to-date gain at nearly 50%. Global technology shares mostly moved higher in concert, also supported by upbeat results from Alibaba and other U.S.-listed tech giants earlier this week. In Europe, shares of chip-gear firm ASML Holding rose 1.2%, chip maker Infineon Technologies added 1.7% and semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics climbed 2.7%. In Taiwan, shares of Largan Precision were up 3.6% and Hon Hai Precision Industry gained 0.4%.

In addition to Apple's earnings, attention among U.S. investors also rested on the October jobs report, a key indicator of the strength of the economy. The report showed a gain of 261,000 jobs in the past month, a pickup from the prior month, but below the 315,000 jobs expected by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. The closely watched wage growth figure showed wages rose 2.4% from a year earlier, a slowdown from the prior month.

On Friday, investors also continued to parse the details of a Republican tax bill and the nomination of Fed governor Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the central bank. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.343%, from 2.347% on Thursday. Yields fall as prices rise.

The Dow industrials fell more than 80 points Thursday after a detailed summary of the tax plan was reported, but the blue-chip index climbed later in the session to end higher.

"We think tax reform is more likely than the market thinks it is," said Jon Adams, investment strategist with BMO Global Asset Management, noting expectations for a tax cut in 2018 are one of the reasons for the asset manager's modest preference for equities over bonds.

Still, "this is a very fluid process and it's likely that there will be a lot of change to what is currently being proposed," he added.

In Europe, Spanish bank shares fell, dragging Spain's IBEX 35 down 1%. A prosecutor asked a Spanish court on Thursday to issue an arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, the leader of Catalonia's secessionist movement who fled to Belgium to escape authorities in Spain.

Asia-Pacific equities were little changed. Chinese tech giant Tencent rose 1.7% to a fresh record after peer Alibaba reported positive quarterly results. The gain helped Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index -- of which Tencent is the largest component -- rise 0.3%.

-Riva Gold contributed to this article

Write to David Hodari at David.Hodari@dowjones.com and Corrie Driebusch at corrie.driebusch@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2017 16:23 ET (20:23 GMT)