NEW YORK/BENGALURU (March 5): The S&P 500 edged higher in choppy trading on Friday after a three-day slide, as data showing faster-than-expected monthly jobs growth reinforced bets on an economic rebound driven by massive fiscal stimulus and vaccination drives.
Nonfarm payrolls surged 379,000 jobs last month, after rising 166,000 in January. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 182,000 jobs.
After the data, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yields hit a new one-year high of 1.626%. Rate-sensitive bank stocks rose about 1.6%, on prospects of an improved economic outlook.
All major S&P 500 sectors rose, led by gains in energy and financials stocks.
"It shows the reopening is on track and occurring faster than we thought," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.
"The consensus is that stimulus is necessary to kickstart the economy and to strengthen the recovery."
A sharply divided US Senate will begin a contentious debate on Friday on a US$1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill that is President Joe Biden's first major legislative initiative.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday offered an optimistic view of the labour market but cautioned that a return to full employment this year was "highly unlikely".
Powell's comments disappointed many investors who expected moves to rein in a recent jump in the US 10-year Treasury yield that has set the Nasdaq on course for its third straight weekly decline.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq on Thursday wiped off all of its gains for 2021, and stopped short of ending 10% below its Feb 12 closing high that would confirm a correction.
The Russell 1000 value index, which is heavily comprised of cyclical stocks such as financials and energy, jumped about 1%, while the Russell 1000 growth index, which includes technology stocks, slipped about 0.1%.
At 9:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 74.48 points or 0.24% to 30,998.62, and the S&P 500 gained 5.13 points or 0.14% to 3,773.60.
The Nasdaq Composite lost 36.96 points or 0.29% to 12,686.52, weighed down by a near 6% fall in Tesla Inc shares.
Costco Wholesale Corp dropped 1.5%, after the warehouse club operator missed estimates for second-quarter profit.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Inc slumped about 6% on a US$1.6 billion stock sale.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.5-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 52 new lows.