S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record high on U.S. jobs report, China data

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose nearly 1% on Friday, taking comfort from October data that showed U.S. jobs growth slowed less than expected and China’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The tech-heavy Nasdaq breached its record level for the first time since July, while the benchmark S&P 500 notched its fourth record high this week.

Both the indexes logged their best month in four in October after an upbeat start to the third-quarter earnings season and a largely positive U.S.-China trade rhetoric.

Most of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher on Friday, with the technology sector .SPLRCT, led by Apple Inc (AAPL.O), providing the biggest boost.

The Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls data showed jobs growth in October came in at 128,000 compared to expectations of 89,000, according to economists polled by Reuters. However, growth still slowed from September.

The report also showed hiring in the prior two months was stronger than previously estimated, offering assurance that consumers would continue to prop up the slowing economy for a while.

“It’s interesting because there was an expectation of 50,000 jobs being gone simply because of the GM strike but clearly that doesn’t show up,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“That tells me that it was a very strong report.”

Meanwhile, China manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in October as new export orders rose and plants ramped up production.

On the trade front, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the initial “phase one” trade pact with China appears to be in good shape and is likely to be signed around mid-November,

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