NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks closed out a bumpy, holiday shortened week with solid gains as a tepid jobs report eased concerns the expanding economy would force the Federal Reserve to pull back on stimulus.
The United States added 559,000 jobs last month, below expectations, but the unemployment rate fell, while the average hourly wage rose more than expected, according to Labour Department data.
Investors in recent weeks were becoming worried that the resurging economy would spur inflation, causing the Fed to taper its massive bond-buying programme or even raise borrowing rates – despite repeated assurances to the contrary from policymakers.
But the jobs data showed the economy still has a rocky road ahead to replace 7.6 million jobs that have not returned since the start of the pandemic.
“This employment report was not too hot, not too cold obviously and I think that the fact that we didn’t see any big hike in the wages suggests that the Fed is not going to be in a hurry to accelerate any tapering debate sooner than anticipated,” said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a gain of 0.5 per cent at 34,756.39.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.9 per cent to close at 4,229.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.5 per cent to 13,814.49.
Movie theatre chain AMC Entertainment lost 6.7 per cent a day after completing a large stock offering that raised US$587.4 billion, after a raucous week that saw the share price nearly double in one day amid a buying spree by retail investors.
Chip maker Broadcom gained 2.2 per cent after topping earnings forecasts amid a global semiconductor shortage.
Warehouse retailer Costco logged a 1 per cent gain after reporting healthy same-store and online sales.