U.S. stock benchmarks extended gains Friday afternoon, putting major indexes on track for a second straight session of positive returns after a read on the labor market came in stronger than expected, supporting the thesis that economic fundamentals remain strong despite ongoing uncertainty around trade policy.
Health-care stocks led the day’s advance after positive drug results at Biogen lifted the stock and sparked a broad rally in the biotech sector.
What are the main benchmarks doing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.61% rose 144 points, or 0.6%, to 24,503. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.92% gained 25 points to 2,761, a gain of 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.26% rose 95 points, or 1.3%, to 7,682.
All 11 primary S&P 500 sectors were higher in midday trading, with the health-care sector the biggest gainer by far, up 1.4% as Biogen rallied. The technology sector rose 1%.
For the week, the Dow is up 0.9%, the S&P is up 1.6%, and the Nasdaq has gained 2.2%.
What’s driving markets?
The U.S. created 213,000 new jobs in June, above the 200,000 that had been expected, while the readings for May and April were also revised higher. Separately, the unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.8%, which could reflect a higher participation rate, as well as an increase that might be tied to the end of the school year.
Separately, the nation’s trade deficit shrank 6.6% in May to a 19-month low, just a month before the first wave of U.S. tariffs on foreign goods in a broadening dispute over unfair trade practices.
On the political front, the Trump administration officially imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports at midnight Eastern Time, and Beijing implemented tariffs on the same value in U.S. goods, as promised.
For weeks, stock markets have stuck