Stock benchmarks headed higher midday Friday as a key reading of April employment came in hotter than expected, with unemployment falling to a nearly 50-year low, underscoring the health of the U.S. job market.
How are benchmarks performing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.73% rose 160 points, or 0.6%, to 26,471, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.85% climbed 23 points, or 0.8%, at 2,940, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.22% advanced 92 points, or 1.2%, at 8,129.
For the week, the Nasdaq was poised to halt a weekly win streak at five with a 0.2% five-session drop, though it has pared that decline over the session. The S&P 500 is headed for a weekly gain of less than 0.1%, while the Dow is on track to put in a weekly slide of 0.3%.
What’s driving the market?
The April jobs report underscored a healthy labor market that produced a stronger-than-expected 263,000 new jobs in April, helping to drive down the unemployment rate to a 49-year low of 3.6%, topping economists’ estimates polled by MarketWatch for monthly job gains of 217,000.
The jobless rate slid from 3.8% in March to hit the lowest level since December 1969. The average wage paid to American workers rose 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $27.77 an hour, while the 12-month rate of hourly wage gains was unchanged at 3.2%. Hours worked each week fell 0.1 hour in April to 34.4.
The labor market data appeared to help stock-market bulls momentarily shake off a two-day skid for the S&P 500 and Dow, widely blamed on disappointment with remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday. Powell offered no indication the central bank was eager to move rates either direction, appearing to disappoint investors who had hoped the central bank would indicate it was tilting toward a rate cut.
A heavy week of earnings results is set to draw to a close.
What stocks are in focus?
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +3.06% stocks were rising in premarket activity after billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC late Thursday that Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +1.33% BRK.B, +1.37% had bought shares of the e-commerce giant. Shares of the e-commerce giant rose 2.1%.
Shares of Newell Brands NWL, +11.03% may be in focus after topping Wall Street expectations for earnings and sales. The company’s stock surge more than 12%.
Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. BYND, +8.25% the alternative meat company, extended its gains after its initial public offering on Thursday. Shares were up about 6% on Friday.
Shares of Weight Watchers International Inc. WW, +13.98% now known as WW, soared 18% in active trade Friday, on track for the biggest one-day gain in nearly two years, after the wellness company reported a narrower-than-expected first-quarter loss and boosted its full-year profit outlook.
Shares of Expedia Group Inc. EXPE, -1.84% fall 2.3% after disappointing quarterly sales.
Sinclair Broadcast Group SBGI, +0.95% shares rose 1.6% as the broadcast company said it has struck a deal valued at more than $10 billion to acquire 21 regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. DIS, +0.27% the Wall Street Journal reported.
What are analysts saying?
“This is another loud and clear signal that the economy is in really good shape. Jobs—check, wages—check, earnings—check, and tame inflation—check,” wrote Mike Loewengart, v.p. investment strategy at E-Trade Financial Corp., in a Friday note after the jobs report.
“We’re getting to a point where it’s hard to find something to be concerned about. But that’s not an excuse for complacency. As we enter the back nine of earnings season, traders will likely turn their attention to potential trade resolutions coming out of Washington next week. And despite the murmuring of positivity on that front, there are more than a few questions marks in the air,” he said.
What else is on the economic calendar?
A reading of advance trade deficit in goods rose 0.7% to $71.4 billion, according to the government report. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a $72 billion trade gap.
The Institute for Supply Management nonmanufacturing index, or services, came in at 55.5, representing the lowest read since August 2017. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 56.1. A reading of 50 or better indicates improving conditions.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said to CNBC on Friday that monetary policy seems “a little tight,” but said he wasn’t pushing for a quick policy change.
Investors will also hear from a range of Fed speakers. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans was set to speak at 10:15 a.m., while Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida makes an appearance at 11:30 a.m. New York Fed President John Williams is set to speak at 1:45 p.m.
How did other markets trade?
China’s markets were closed for a holiday, and Japan’s Nikkei remained closed for a 10-day holiday commemorating the installation of a new emperor earlier this week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.46% advanced on the day.
Crude-oil prices CLM9, +1.04% traded mixed Friday, while gold prices GCM9, +0.70% edged higher in early trade after settling at its lowest level in about four months on Thursday. The U.S. dollar index DXY, -0.24% meanwhile, edged slightly higher.
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