Stocks extend rally as S&P 500 approaches 2,900.
U.S. stocks advanced on Friday, as the benchmark indices inched closer to record highs after the Department of Labor reported better than expected job numbers for March.
All of Wall Street’s major averages finished in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) edged up 40.22 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 26,424.85.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 0.5% to 2,892.71. A majority of the major sectors recorded gains, with energy leading the gains.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) advanced 0.6% to close at 7,398.69.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) declined sharply on Friday, as Wall Street entered a period of extended calm. The VIX “fear index” reached a session low of 12.17. It would later consolidate at 12.84, having lost 5.5%.
In economic data, U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose faster than expected last month, reassuring investors that the labor market recovery was still on track. Employers added 196,000 workers to payrolls in March, following an upwardly revised gain of 33,000 the month before that was originally reported as 20,000, the Department of Labor reported Friday.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8% even as more people entered the labor force. The workforce participation rate edged up to 63.0% in March from 62.9% previously.
Average hourly earnings, a proxy for wage inflation, edged up 0.1% on month and 3.2% annually, official data showed. Both figures came in below forecasts.
The Final Word: The U.S. labor market remains on solid ground, which should help shore up confidence in the economy. The next order of business for the Trump administration is to settle a long-standing trade dispute with China ahead of the 2020 presidential election.