Stocks gain steam on Fed Chair Powell's comments and 50-year low unemployment

Stocks picked up momentum on Friday after Fed Chair Powell, in a speech, said the U.S. economy overall is in a "good place" even though it faces risks.

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His comments follow the September jobs report, which showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low.

Stocks rallied into the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing on session highs, up 372 points or 1.4 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq saw similar sized gains.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27691.49+0.00+0.00%
SP500S&P 5003091.84+4.83+0.16%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8486.09056+21.81+0.26%

The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, its lowest since 1969, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting the economy to have added 145,000 jobs as the unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent.

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Tech and healthcare led broad gains for most of the S&P's sectors with energy names rising the least.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
XLKTECHNOLOGY SELECT SECTOR SPDR ETF86.45+0.29+0.34%
XLVHEALTH CARE SELECT SECTOR SPDR ETF95.31+0.57+0.60%
USOUNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P.11.87-0.02-0.17%

Apple shares rose after the Nikkei Asian Review reported the tech giant is ramping up iPhone production by 10 percent, or 8 million units, due to better than expected demand.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AAPLAPPLE INC.261.96-0.24-0.09%

Hewlett-Packard shares were under pressure after the company said it would layoff as many as 9,000 employees over the next two years with the aim of cutting expenses by $1 billion.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
HPEHEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE COMPANY17.34-0.12-0.69%

On the earnings front, Costco was little changed after fourth-quarter sales fell short of expectations. The wholesaler said it's China business is booming, and that it plans to open a second Shanghai store in early 2021.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
COSTCOSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION300.50-0.34-0.11%

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In Europe, the major averages were little changed.

Asian stocks were mixed on Friday. Tokyo’s Nikkei ended the day up 0.3 percent but fell 2.1 percent for the week.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 1.1 percent and down 0.5 percent for the week. Chinese markets will reopen on Monday after being closed most of the week in observance of the Golden Week holiday.

FOX Business' Ken Martin contributed to this article.