U.S. report on hiring buoys stocks
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks climbed Friday after the government said hiring grew at a stronger pace in June. Technology and consumer-focused companies led the way as investors were glad to see a positive sign for the economy.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 15.43 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,425.18. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 94.30 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,414.34. It fell 158 points a day earlier. The Nasdaq composite rose 63.61 points, or 1 percent, to 6,153.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 15.02 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,415.84.
The Labor Department said American employers added 222,000 jobs last month. That was more than analysts had expected, and it came just a day after a survey that showed weaker job creation by private companies. Stocks regained much of the ground they lost Thursday. Technology companies jumped, and retailers Amazon and McDonald’s traded higher.
“The data itself shows a pretty strong labor market,” said Sean Lynch, co-head of global equity strategy for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. He said it “probably lays to rest some of the worries [that] we were taking a step back from an economic standpoint.”
The government said more people looked for work in June, which pushed the unemployment rate slightly higher. The government also raised its estimates of job gains in April and May. However average wage growth remained modest. Still, companies that would benefit from better economic growth, like banks and industrial companies, made strong gains.
Facebook shares rose $2.62, or 1.8 percent, to $151.44, and Microsoft rose 89 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $69.46 as technology companies made the biggest gains Friday. They have done better than any other industrial group within the S&P 500 this year.
Despite Friday’s gains, technology stocks have had a bad month. The Nasdaq composite closed at an alltime high June 8, and the S&P 500 technology index closed at a 17-year-high. Since then, the tech index has dropped 4 percent, its worst one-month stretch since Britain voted to leave the European Union last June. Apple and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, have both fallen almost 8 percent in that time, while chipmaker Nvidia is down 10 percent, and smaller chip and chip equipment companies have taken even sharper losses.
“If the markets are to go higher, it’s got to come from somewhere other than technology,” said Lynch.
McDonald’s shares rose $3.18, or 2.1 percent, to $156.27. Amazon picked up $13.62, or 1.4 percent, to $978.76, and Netflix advanced $3.93, or 2.7 percent, to $150.18. Homebuilder D.R. Horton added $1.30, or 3.8 percent, to $35.79.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.29, or 2.8 percent, to $44.23 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $1.40, or 2.9 percent, to $46.71 per barrel in London. Analysts said investors are focused on the strong increase in U.S. production in Thursday’s energy supply report. Hess shares fell $1.04, or 2.4 percent, to $41.79, and Devon Energy gave up 64 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $29.54.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.39 percent from 2.37 percent. Big-dividend stocks like phone companies, household goods makers and utilities mostly lagged behind the market as investors who sought yield were lured elsewhere.
Gold sank $13.60, or 1.1 percent, to a four-month low of $1,209.70 an ounce. Silver dropped 56 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $15.43 an ounce. Copper lost 1 cent to $2.65 a pound.