Apple, tech stocks lead Wall Street rally

(Reuters) – Apple and other technology stocks led a rally on Wall Street on Friday, after weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs and wage growth data eased concerns about faster interest rate hikes.

Trader Michael Capolino shouts out a bid on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Apple (AAPL.O) jumped 3.9 percent to a record high of $183.80 after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) raised its stake in the iPhone maker.

The S&P technology sector .SPLRCT was up 1.64 percent, the biggest driver on the index.

The markets were off to a choppy start after data showed the U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in April, but missed estimates, while the unemployment rate dropped to near a 17-1/2-year low of 3.9 percent.

The Labor Department’s closely watched report showed wage growth of only 0.1 percent in April, also below expectations, easing concerns that inflation pressures were increasing.

“We have a jobs report that shows continued strength in the labor market, though without any real inflationary pressures through wages,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

“It’s sort of the Goldilocks economy, where there is enough strength in the labor market to allow the Fed to raise interest rates, but not enough to require them to do so.”

After choppy futures trading following release of the data, Wall Street opened lower, before reversing course. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 bounced off their 200-day moving averages, a technical level that indicates long-term momentum.

At 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 285.76 points, or 1.19 percent, at 24,215.91, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 28.60 points, or 1.09 percent, at 2,658.33 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 106.67 points, or 1.50 percent, at 7,194.83.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, and 29 of the 30 Dow members were in the black.

After a two-day meeting, China and the United States reached a consensus on some aspects of their trade row, though some “relatively big” disagreements on other issues remained, China said.

Among companies that reported results, Pandora Media (P.N) jumped 22.4 percent after the music streaming service provider reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

CBS Corp (CBS.N) rose 5.9 percent after the media company topped revenue and profit estimates for the first quarter.

Fluor Corp (FLR.N) sank 21.7 percent, the most on the S&P, after the engineering and construction company posted a surprise quarterly loss due to issues with a gas-fired power project.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.25-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.70-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 12 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 73 new highs and 39 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Savio D’Souza in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Tagged ,