Stocks close up on big April jobs report, falling unemployment

U.S. stocks closed higher Friday as the jobs report showed hiring surged in April, creating 263,000, far higher than the 185,000 analysts had expected.

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The Labor Department also said unemployment dropped to 3.6 percent, beating analysts' expectations of 3.8 percent and the lowest rate since 1969.

The size of last month's job gains was not expected to heighten the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will think more seriously about raising rates.

"The Fed is likely unconcerned with the stronger than expected job creation number – they probably welcome it – but what they are keeping a close eye on is the change in average hourly earnings, which came in at a robust +3.2 percent, albeit 0.1 percent lower than what was expected," Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance, said in a statement.

"It’s our expectation that the Fed is willing to let the economy run 'hot' – and stay on the sidelines – until inflation becomes a much greater concern.  This should be positive for equities and negative for bonds ... but the stock market is still vulnerable to pullbacks because of trade policy, dollar strength or an as-yet-unknown risk that may present itself."

The session's gains lifted the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite to its sixth straight week of gains and a new record high, while the broad-based S&P 500 booked its second consecutive weekly gain.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BYNDBEYOND MEAT INC.76.22+2.56+3.48%
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.1,751.60+11.12+0.64%

Shares of Beyond Meat extended their huge surge on Thursday when, during their initial public offering, the stock soared more than 150 percent. That gave the Los Angeles-based corporation a market value well above $3.5 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway has been purchasing shares of Amazon, Warren Buffett told CNBC. That helped lift shares of the online giant.

Consumer cyclical and energy stocks were leading the session gainers.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NWLNEWELL BRANDS INC.19.05+0.32+1.71%

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.53 percent.

Crude oil prices fell, with West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude oil, closing down at $61.94 per barrel -- its second straight weekly decline. The retreat came even though the Trump administration officially ended waivers that had been granted to some nations allowing them to continue importing oil from Iran.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES28015.06+337.27+1.22%
SP500S&P 5003145.91+28.48+0.91%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8656.528802+85.83+1.00%

Government data showed that U.S. crude stockpiles rose to their highest levels since September 2017 last week, jumping 9.9 million to 471 million. Meanwhile, production hit a record high of 12.3 million barrels per day.

China’s Shanghai Composite closed up 0.52 percent, the Hang Seng added 0.46 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.22 percent.


Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.78 percent, France’s CAC 40 added 0.29 percent and Germany’s DAX 0.46 percent.