Stocks Up After Solid US Jobs Data

(AP) -- Stocks rose broadly in afternoon trading on Wall Street Friday as traders welcomed news of a rebound in hiring by U.S. employers last month.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6% as of 12:02 p.m. Eastern. More than 80% of stocks within the benchmark index gained ground and it is on track for its best week since late June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 225 points, or 0.6%, to 36,347 and the Nasdaq rose 0.6%.

Small-company stocks did better than the broader market in a sign that investors are confident about economic growth prospects. The Russell 2000 rose 1.6%.

Investors cheered a government update that showed the employment market took another big step toward recovering from the pandemic's sharp blow more than 18 months ago. America's employers added 531,000 jobs in October, the most since July, according to the Labor Department.

The broader economy spent the first half of 2021 sharply recovering and has since eased its pace, but the job market's recovery has been much choppier throughout the year. A big part of the problem was the disconnect between a large number of job openings and a lack of people taking those jobs as the pandemic lingered and surged in waves.

The October report helped ease some of the concerns over that disconnect persisting and could be a signal that other issues potentially impeding the economic recovery could move closer to being resolved, said Matt Stucky, senior portfolio manager at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co.

"Getting more people back to work will hopefully help diffuse some of the bottleneck supply issues in the economy that is putting pressure on rising inflation," he said. "The more people we get back to fill open positions will help keep that shortage pressure at bay a little bit."

Technology stocks and companies that rely on direct consumer spending for services and goods made the biggest gains. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 4.7%.

Online travel company Expedia jumped 14.4% and home-sharing company Airbnb rose 13.5% after releasing surprisingly good earnings reports. Those results sent an encouraging signal that the beleaguered travel sector is continuing its recovery as the virus pandemic subsides. Cruise line Carnival rose 8.9%, hotel operator Marriott International rose 2.4% and United Airlines rose 6.1%.

U.S. crude oil prices rose 3.1% and helped energy companies gain ground. ConocoPhillips rose 2.3%.

High-end exercise equipment maker Peloton, which thrived during the pandemic when people hunkered down at home, plunged 34% after cutting its sales forecast.

Health care stocks lagged the broader market, despite Pfizer's 8% jump following the release of encouraging study results show that its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% in high-risk adults.

Bond yields moved lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.46% from 1.52% late Thursday.