Banks, Jobs Data Send Wall Street Higher

NYSE trader FBN

U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, with the S&P 500 closing just short of a record high, boosted by gains in financial shares as President Donald Trump moved ahead with deregulation action and by a strong payrolls report.

The S&P financial sector jumped 2 percent to score its best day since mid-November after Trump signed an executive order to scale back regulations in the industry that were implemented in the wake of the financial crisis, including the Dodd-Frank law.

JP Morgan Chase shares closed up 3.1 percent at $87.18 as the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and helped push the S&P bank index up 2.6 percent.

The U.S. public and private sectors created 227,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department, far more than the 175,000 economists had expected.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent while average hourly wages grew only 0.1 percent, which is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on a gradual path to raise U.S. interest rates.

"The key to the payroll number was wage growth; that takes March off the calendar (for a rate hike), that is the notion there," said Stephen Massocca, Chief Investment Officer, Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.

"The Dodd-Frank think wasn't unexpected, but it happened and it is clear the direction (Trump) is moving in and that added to it."

The financial sector has rocketed up more than 18 percent since the Nov. 8 election while the bank sector has surged more than 25 percent on expectations Trump would scale back regulations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 186.55 points, or 0.94 percent, to close at 20,071.46, the S&P 500 gained 16.57 points, or 0.73 percent, to 2,297.42 and the Nasdaq Composite added 30.57 points, or 0.54 percent, to 5,666.77.

Friday's gains helped the indexes recoup most, if not all, of the losses from earlier in the week. The S&P and Nasdaq each gained 0.1 percent while the Dow shed 0.1 percent. fell 3.5 percent to $810.20 after the world's largest online retailer forecast a surprise dip in operating profit for the current quarter. The stock pulled the S&P 500 consumer discretionary index down 0.1 percent as the only major S&P sector in negative territory for the session.

Macy's jumped gained 6.4 percent to $32.69 following a takeover approach from Canada's Hudson's Bay.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.78-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.82-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 27 new 52-week highs and six new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 138 new highs and 25 new lows.

About 6.45 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.71 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.