The major benchmarks ended mixed after a strong finish compensated for a poor start to the week. The investors were worried about the upcoming deadline for the extension of waivers on U.S. aluminum and steel tariffs, as well as the outcome of a planned visit of a U.S. trade delegation to China. U.S. stocks logged sharp gains Friday, overshadowing uncertainty over tense trade talks between the U.S. and China and a weaker-than-expected rise in April nonfarm payrolls. The strong economic and earnings environment seemed to compensate for the turbulent geopolitical backdrop. Friday’s monthly employment summary showed that payrolls increased at a healthy pace in April, while the unemployment rate had declined to 3.9%, its lowest level since 2000. The monthly labor report showed that hourly wages rose only moderately in April, which may have eased inflation fears. The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee met during the week and kept official short-term rates unchanged.
U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.3%, to 24,262. The Dow notched its best daily performance in three weeks.
The S&P 500 rose 1.2%, to 2,663. Technology stocks outperformed within the S&P 500 Index, while health care shares lagged, due to both some poor earnings results and worries that the Trump administration might announce measures to regulate drug prices. 81% of S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter earnings, with results on pace to be the strongest since the third-quarter of 2010. Particularly encouraging is the 8.5% average revenue growth, the strongest increase in sales since the third-quarter of 2011.
The Nasdaq Composite Index picked up 1.6%, to 7,210. Tech stocks were pushed higher by Apple Inc. after reports that Berkshire Hathaway had bought 75 million shares in the first quarter. For the week, the Dow was down 0.2%, the S&P was down 0.3% and the Nasdaq was up by 1.2%.
Gold prices settled down nearly 0.2% at $1,314.70 an ounce, and booked a weekly drop of about 0.7%. tallied a loss for a third week in a row as investors showed a lukewarm reaction to the monthly U.S. jobs report.
Oil finished higher on Friday, posting a weekly gain, as growing concerns over the economic crisis in Venezuela and possible new sanctions against Iran raised the potential for tighter global crude supplies and sent prices back to their highest settlement since late 2014. June WTI crude oil rose 1.9%, to settle at $69.72 a barrel. That was the highest finish since Nov. 26, 2014. The contract saw a 2.4% weekly gain.
After a fruitful four weeks for digital currencies, the total value of all coins climbed 72% to $460 billio. Bitcoin, which accounts for 36.1% of all coins, has closed in on resistance near $10,000 and hit an intraday high of $9,790.94 on Friday. It was a quiet day on the futures.The May Cboe contract finished up 0.4% at $9,705 and the CME May contract closed down 0.1% at $9,670.
Ether which added 10% on Thursday, moved higher on Friday, trading up 2% to $769.05.