Stocks finished firmly higher on Friday, as investors digested a robust November jobs report. The Dow climbed 337 points, paring its weekly fall to 0.1%. The S&P 500 reversed its weekly losses with Friday’s jump of 0.9%, ending 0.2% higher for the week. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1%, cutting its weekly decline to just 0.1%.
On the data front, the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report showed 266,000 jobs were added in November, well above economists’ forecasts of 180,000, while the prior month’s figure was upwardly revised to 156,000 from 128,000. The unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked down to 3.5% in the November. Separately, a preliminary update on December consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan reached a seven-month high, with the figure increasing to 99.2 from the prior month’s reading of 96.8. Amid the “risk-on” mood, perceived safe haven assets declined. COMEX gold lost 1.2%, while Treasuries weakened along the curve. The yield on the 10-year note rose four basis points to 1.84%. On the trade front, China announced it would exclude tariffs on some soybean and pork purchases, signaling progress towards a preliminary trade agreement.
Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished higher, with Utilities the lone decliner. The Energy group paced the gains with WTI crude up 1.0% to $59.02/barrel. Shares of Google’s parent Alphabet and Apple both reached record levels, rising 0.9% and 1.9%, respectively. In earnings, Ulta Beauty rallied 11.1% after beating profit estimates. Discount retailer Big Lots surged 31.8% after a solid earnings report and saying it expects to return to earnings growth in 2020.