Stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Friday after showing a notable advance early in the session. The Dow is moving higher for the fifth consecutive and has reached a new record intraday high along with the S&P 500.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 163.58 points or 0.5 percent at 34,712.11, the Nasdaq is up 177.98 points or 1.3 percent at 13810.82 and the S&P 500 is up 32.89 points or 0.8 percent at 4,234.51.
The continued strength on Wall Street comes following the release of a closely watched Labor Department report showing much weaker than expected job growth in the month of April.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 266,000 jobs in April after surging by a downwardly revised 770,000 jobs in March.
Economists had expected employment to spike by 978,000 jobs compared to the jump of 916,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
The report also showed the unemployment rate inched up to 6.1 percent in April from 6.0 percent in March, while economists had expected the unemployment rate to drop to 5.8 percent.
Traders have reacted positively to the report as the weaker than expected data reinforces the view the Federal Reserve will leave ultra-easy monetary policy in place for the foreseeable future.
Michael Pearce, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics, called the report a “clear reminder that the recovery in the labor market is lagging the rebound in consumption.”
“For the Fed, we suspect that means it will be a many months before it judges the economy has made ‘substantial further progress’ towards its ‘broad based and inclusive’ full employment goal,” Pearce said. “That means any talk of tapering, let alone rate hikes, is still some way off.”
The data has led to a particularly strong upward move by high-growth tech stocks, which are seen as more susceptible to higher interest rates.
Networking stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside on the day, resulting in a 2.1 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Networking Index.
Biotechnology, software and semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable strength, contributing to strong gain by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
Significant strength is also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.
Gold, steel and commercial real estate stocks have also moved notably higher amid broad based buying interest on Wall Street.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back near the unchanged line after an initial spike. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.566 percent.
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