U.S. stocks ended mostly higher Friday, with all three major benchmarks scoring a second straight week of gains, after investors digested a much stronger-than-expected January jobs report that underlined expectations for an aggressive round of rate increases by the Federal Reserve.
The Nasdaq Composite led the way higher after strong results from Amazon.com Inc.
How did stock benchmarks trade?
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.06% fell 21.42 points, or almost 0.1%, to close at 35,089.74, after climbing into positive territory in afternoon trade.
- The S&P 500 SPX, +0.52% gained 23.09 points, or 0.5%, to end at 4,500.53, after flipping between modest gains and losses in morning action.
- The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.58% climbed 219.19 points, or 1.6%, to finish at 14,098.01.
On Thursday, the Dow slumped more than 500 points, or 1.5%, the S&P 500 dropped 2.4% and the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.7%.
For the week, the Dow gained about 1.1%, the S&P 500 rose 1.6% and the Nasdaq climbed 2.4%. Each index notched a second straight week of gains, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
What drove the market?
Stock market trade was choppy after the government reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 467,000 jobs in January and hiring was much stronger at the end of 2021 than originally estimated.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 4% from 3.9%, while the percentage of people in the labor force ticked up to a pandemic high of 62.2%.
“We got a lot of jobs, which is fantastic news,” said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors, in a phone interview Friday. And “it looks like we’ve got some additional people entering the workforce.”
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a payrolls rise of just 150,000 — and some had warned that a fall was possible due to hourly workers without paid sick leave being counted as without jobs. Analysts said investors had been prepared to look through a weak number, on expectations for a sharp reversal in February.
The strong January reading served to reinforce expectations the Federal Reserve will be aggressive in lifting interest rates and taking other steps to pullback on monetary stimulus as it attempt to rein in the highest inflation in decades.
“The party is kind of ending on the rate side,” said Exencial’s Courtney. The economy seems to have enough momentum to keep growth “strong” even if it slows from 2021.
Fed-funds traders increased bets the Federal Reserve would deliver a 50 basis point increase at its March meeting, rather than the typical move of 25 basis points. The CME FedWatch Tool showed fed-funds futures reflected a 27% chance of a half-point move, up from 14% on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Amazon.com shares AMZN, +13.54% soared 13.5% Friday, buoying the Nasdaq after the e-commerce giant delivered blowout results late Thursday. Some $11.8 billion of the $14.3 billion fourth-quarter profit it reported was from an investment in Rivian Automotive RIVN, +0.84%, which went public in the quarter. The company also raised the cost of a Prime subscription to $139 a year from $119 a year.
Amazon’s performance saw the S&P 500’s consumer discretionary sector leading gains Friday, up 3.7%. In other sharp gains, financials closed 1.7% higher, while the energy sector rose 1.6%.
The S&P 500, tech-heavy Nasdaq and Dow all scored weekly gains, after breaking a four-session string of wins on Thursday. The big dip came after Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. FB, -0.28% missed sales and growth estimates, sending shares plunging. Its stock slipped 0.3% Friday.
Although investors initially seemed “uncertain” about the strong jobs report, as it gives the Fed more “leeway” to hike rates, the market now appears to be “feeling good about it,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, in a phone interview Friday.
“We’re back above the 200-day average for the S&P 500,” said Wren. “If we consolidate here and hold these gains that would be a very positive sign.”
Which companies were in focus?
- Pinterest PINS, +11.18% reported its full-year profit and more than $2 billion in annual revenue and shares of the online-pinboard company climbed 11.2%.
- Bill.com Holdings shares BILL, +36.05% surged about 36%, after the maker of financial software tools for small businesses topped expectations for its latest quarter and gave an upbeat forecast.
- Shares of GoPro GPRO, +4.03% rose 4%, after the action-camera maker topped earnings expectations, with plans to broaden camera offerings in the year ahead.
- Ford Motor Co. F, -9.70% swung to a quarterly profit, but along with sales, fell short of Wall Street expectations amid “persistent supply-chain disruptions.” Shares dropped 9.7%.
- Shares of Snapchat parent Snap SNAP surged 58.8%, after reporting its first-ever profit late Thursday.
How did other assets fare?
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.913% surged 10.5 basis points to 1.93%, a level last seen in late 2019. Yields and debt prices move opposite each other.
- The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.10%, a measure of the currency against a basket of six rivals, was up almost 0.1%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery CLH22, +1.84% rose 2.3% to close at $92.31 a barrel, its highest finish since September 2014. Gold’s GCJ22, +0.26% April futures contract edged up 0.2% to settle at $1,807.80 an ounce.
- Bitcoin BTCUSD was up almost 10%.
- In European equities, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -1.38% closed 1.4% lower for a weekly decline of 0.7%. London’s FTSE 100 UKX UKX, -0.17% slipped 0.2% Friday but still gained 0.7% for the week.
- In Asia, the Hang Seng Index climbed 3.2% Friday for a weekly gain of 4.3%, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.7% to bring weekly gains to 2.7%.
—Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report.