Stocks ended sharply higher Friday as investor sentiment got a lift from much stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data.
The Dow gained 301 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose about 1% to finish at all-time highs.
Exxon Mobil was among the best-performing stocks in the Dow on the back of stronger-than-forecast quarterly results. The stock gained 2.7%. The industrials and financials sectors rose more than 1% each. Apple shares rose more than 2% to a record high, lifting the Nasdaq.
“The October jobs report was very strong,” said Gus Faucher, a chief economist at PNC. “Job growth slowed a bit because of the GM strike, but with the strike over it should bounce back in November.”
The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 75,000 jobs for the previous month. October jobs growth easily beat estimates despite a decline of 42,000 jobs in the autos sector due to a General Motors strike that has now been settled.
Jobs growth data for September and August was also revised substantially higher. September’s number was revised up to 180,000 from 136,000. August jobs growth was revised to 219,000 from 168,000.
Friday’s jobs report came after the Federal Reserve cut rates earlier this week by 25 basis points. The Fed signaled a higher bar for further rate cuts, but noted significantly higher inflation is needed before raising rates again.
Other data released Friday included the Institute for Supply Management’s reading on October U.S. manufacturing.