South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

More record highs

Wall Street closes solid week as hopes grow for stimulus

- By Stan Choe and Alex Veiga

Wall Street closed out a solidweek for stocks Friday with more record highs as traders took a discouragi­ng jobs report as a sign that Congress will finally move to deliver more aid for the pandemic-stricken economy.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9%, notching its third all-time high this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq composite andRussell 2000 index of smaller companies also closed at record highs.

The gains were broad, with about 81% of the companies in the S&P 500moving higher. Gains in technology, health care and energy stocks helped lift the market, outweighin­g losses in utilities and companies that rely on consumer spending. Treasury yields rose, a sign of growing confidence in the economic outlook.

Hopes remain deeply rooted on Wall Street that one or more coronaviru­s vaccines are coming to rescue the global economy next year. But efforts to contain a surge innewvirus cases has stoked worries about more economic pain for companies and consumers.

That’s why Friday’s much weaker- than- expected jobs report perversely helped lift stocks. Investors are betting the report may be bad enough to help kick Congress out of its paralysis and deliver more support for the economy.

“In a twist of irony, the bad jobs number is positive for markets today,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investment­s. “The market is telling us today that if the labor market continues to show slowing momentum, it’s much more likely the powers that be inD.C. agree to something that’s material.”

The S&P 500 rose 32.40 points to 3,699.12. The benchmark index climbed

1.7% for theweek, its second consecutiv­e weekly gain. The Dow picked up 248.74 points, or 0.8%, to 30,218.26. TheNasdaq picked up 87.05 points, or 0.7%, to 12,464.23.

Stocks of smaller companies, which have recently helped lead the market after lagging earlier this year, outgained the broader market Friday. The Russell

2000 climbed 43.75 points, or 2.4%, to 1,892.45, more than double the gain for the big stocks in theS&P500.

Stocks seemed headed for a downbeat day early Friday as traders weighed the disappoint­ing jobs report. Treasury yields sank, and U.S. stock futures wobbled after the data showed employers added just

245,000 jobs last month, half of what economists were expecting. The report marked a sharp step down from October’s gain of

610,000 and was the fifth straight month of slowing growth.

Economists called the numbers disappoint­ing and evidence that the worsening pandemic will likely destroy more jobs and income for the economy in the comingmont­hs.

But markets quickly firmed amid hopes that the dour data could spur some action from Congress.

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