Stocks in the US ended in the green on Friday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite reaching record highs as April’s jobs report topped expectations and oil futures recovered from five-month lows hit a day earlier.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was a step behind its peers, although it still ended with gains in more than two thirds of its components. DuPont (DD) was the top performer, up 3% after Reuters reported that Brazil had approved its merger with Dow Chemical (DOW), which increased 2.7%. But the blue chip index was somewhat constrained by a 2.5% loss in IBM after Warren Buffet said he had sold shares in the tech giant.
Advances in nine of the 11 sectors on the S&P 500 were led by a 1.7% gain in energy. Telecoms were up 1.5% and materials increased 1.4%. Apple’s (AAPL) 1.6% increase supported the Nasdaq.
The US economy added 211,000 nonfarm jobs, outpacing the average forecast for a gain of 185,000. March jobs gains were revised down to 79,000 from 98,000. The unemployment rate fell to 4.4%, almost a 10-year low, in April from 4.6% in March.
Investors will be closely watching the outcome of France’s presidential election on Sunday, with polls showing centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is likely to beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in a vote seen as key to the future of France and the European Union after the UK’s decision to exit the economic bloc almost a year ago.
While crude was lower on the week, a 1.8% rise in US futures on Friday was enough to support energy stocks on the S&P 500. Oil field services firm Baker Hughes (BHI) climbed 3.3% as its weekly U.S. oil rig count rose for the 16th straight week to the highest level in two years. Halliburton (HAL) increased 2.2% and Schlumberger (SLB) was 1.5% higher.
In company news, Zynga (ZNGA) rose 5.3% after the video game developer reported a first quarter net loss and revenues that beat views compiled by Capital IQ and issued upside guidance on revenues for the current three months. ArcBest (ARCB) dropped 25% after the provider of logistics solutions reported quarterly financial results that trailed analysts’ estimates.
Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) climbed 4.1% after topping first-quarter estimates and raising full-year earnings guidance by a penny. InVivo Therapeutics (NVIV) retreated 15% after reporting a loss that widened from the prior-year period.
By the close, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were up 0.4% while the Dow rose 0.3%.