FILE- In this March 12, 2019, file photo specialists James Denaro, left, and Mario Picone work at a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 3. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Solid jobs report, earnings push stocks broadly higher

May 03, 2019 - 12:46 pm

Stocks rose broadly on Wall Street in afternoon trading Friday, erasing the market's losses from a day earlier and placing the S&P 500 on track for its second straight weekly gain.

Investors welcomed the government's latest snapshot of U.S. employment, which showed that job growth surged in April past economists' forecasts and unemployment fell to a five-decade low.

Technology companies, banks, communications and consumer-focused stocks helped drive much of the rally. Energy sector companies notched the biggest gain as crude oil prices rebounded. Smaller company stocks were up more than the rest of the market.

Traders continued to weigh through corporate earnings reports for the first quarter. Results have come in mixed so far, but they have been good enough to ease worries that company profits would slump overall.

United States Steel, Weight Watchers and Monster Beverage were among the latest companies to give investors surprisingly good results.

Newell Brands, which makes Sharpie and Elmer's products, surged on a solid earnings report. Amazon rose following reports that Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway was buying the stock.

KEEPING SCORE: THE S&P 500 index was up 1% as of 1:33 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 204 points, or 0.8%, to 26,512. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.5% and the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks climbed 1.4%.

Major indexes in Europe were also moving higher.

ANALYST'S TAKE: The market spent the week hitting a wall as investors searched for clearer signs that the economy remains strong. One of those signs appeared Friday morning in the form of a solid jobs report.

"The market has had such a remarkable recovery that at some point it has to pause and consolidate before climbing," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "Overall, this was a solid report that should assuage fears that the U.S. economy is losing momentum."

A SLICK MOVE: Crude oil prices recovered some of their losses from a day earlier. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 0.6% at $62.17 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 0.6% to $70.19.

The move helped lift energy stocks, which led all other sectors of the S&P 500. Concho Resources rose 4.9%.

SOLID QUARTER: United States Steel surged 16.5% after a sharp increase in sales helped push profit far beyond Wall Street forecasts. The sharp gains come amid a weak year for the company. Its stock is down 8.1% so far in 2019 while the S&P 500 index is up 17.5%.

ENERGIZED EARNINGS: Monster Beverage rose 9.6% after the energy drinks company powered past Wall Street's first quarter profit forecast. The company reported a solid increase in sales of its namesake energy drink that helped drive a surge in profit.

SLIMMER LOSSES: Weight Watchers surged 13.8% after reporting losses for the first quarter that were much slimmer than expected. The company also raised its profit forecast for the year.

STORM CLOUDS: Arista Networks, a cloud computing company, plummeted 21.1% after telling investors that revenue in the current quarter will fall short of forecasts. The company said it started seeing shortfall in demand toward the end of the first quarter.

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AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed to this report.

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