Stocks Hike as Traders Digest Jobs Numbers

The S&P 500 rose Friday, on track for a winning week, as traders bet a rising unemployment rate would clear the way for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrials strengthened 82.24 points to kick off Friday at 38,873.59

The S&P 500 gained 27.75 points to 5,185.11.

The NASDAQ jumped 150.23 points to 16,423.69.

Nvidia climbed more than 4% in the session and was poised to see its best week since May with a gain of more than 17%. Apple also rose more than 1% in Friday trading, on track to snap its longest losing streak since early 2022 at seven days.

The February jobs data gave some conflicting signals as to when it will be safe for the Fed to start cutting interest rates. On one hand, the number of jobs added last month was much more than expected, coming in at 275,000 compared with an estimate of 198,000 from economists polled by Dow Jones. This data can imply an economy that’s still running pretty hot.

But the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked higher to 3.9% and wage growth was lighter than feared, offering morsels of hope that inflation has cooled enough to appease the Fed. Data on January jobs growth was also revised lower.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury stayed put early Friday, keeping yields at Thursday’s 4.09%.

Oil prices sagged 58 cents to $78.35 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices hiked $11.30 to $2,176.50.

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