Wall Street jumps on jobs data; Dow, S&P end lower for the week
New York: Stocks soared on Friday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 ending a five-day losing streak after a robust jobs report gave traders confidence that the economic recovery was gaining strength.
The S&P 500 scored its best day in nearly a month, with all 10 S&P sector indexes solidly higher in the broad rally.
About two-thirds of the stocks traded on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq ended in positive territory.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 closed slightly lower for the week, snapping eight-week rallies.
U.S. employers added 203,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in November, exceeding the forecast. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 7 percent in November from 7.3 percent in October, the Labor Department said.
Recent data has been mixed, with indicators for the labor market and consumer spending showing strength, while reports on the housing market and business spending show those areas are faltering.
"The report shows a continuation of the recovery, which had been sidelined by the shutdown in D.C. That, coupled with a consumer who appears to be in recovery mode, is a big reason for the market to be positive," said Kristina Hooper, head of portfolio strategies at Allianz Global Investors, in New York.
Many market participants have expected the Fed to announce a cut in stimulus in March. The Fed has said it would slow its massive bond purchases when certain economic measures meet its targets, including a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate.
"The report is good, but not so compelling that this automatically changes the tapering story," said Hooper, who helps oversee USD 436 billion in assets.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI jumped 198.69 points, or 1.26 percent, to close at 16,020.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX climbed 20.06 points, or 1.12 percent, to finish at 1,805.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC gained 29.36 points, or 0.73 percent, to end at 4,062.52.
The S&P 500 recorded its best day since November 8, and the Dow's gain was its largest since October 16.
After an eight-week run that pushed the S&P 500 up nearly 7 percent, the benchmark index had dropped 1.2 percent over the past five sessions, its longest losing streak since late September.
For the week, the Dow fell 0.4 percent, and the S&P 500 dipped 0.04 percent, while the Nasdaq rose 0.07 percent.
Intel (INTC.O) ranked among the S&P 500's top gainers, rising 2.3 percent to USD 24.82 after Citigroup raised its rating on the chipmaker to "buy" from "neutral."
J.C. Penney (JCP.N) shares fell 8.7 percent to USD 8.08 after the department store chain said it had received a letter of inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, seeking an explanation on the company's financial position. The stock is down almost 60 percent for the year so far.
Barnes & Noble (BKS.N) also disclosed an SEC investigation, and its stock slid 12 percent to USD 14.43.
Other data showed personal spending rose 0.3 percent in October, slightly higher than expected. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment jumped to 82.5 for December from a final November reading of 75.1.
About 4.85 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data.