Dow, S&P 500 end at records after strong US jobs report

VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks were propelled to new highs on Friday (Dec 8) as a better-than-expected US jobs report boosted the Dow and S&P 500 to fresh records.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to close at 24,329.16, eclipsing the prior record set on Monday.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent to end the week at 2,651.50, also a record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 per cent to 6,840.08.

Stocks were in positive territory the entire session after the Labor Department reported the US economy added 228,000 jobs last month and that unemployment held steady at a low 4.1 percent.

The jobs data added to other positive catalysts that included solid economic data from Japan and China and a breakthrough in the Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union. Investors also were cheered as a monumental US tax cut plan heads towards final passage in Congress.

“It’s the same story for investors,” said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets.

“Investors who sell at the slightest sign of weakness are being punished.

“It’s momentum that’s driving the market at this point.”

Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said the jobs report could help enable a “Santa Claus rally,” a term for the stock surge that often takes place near the end of the year.

Health care-related shares were strong, with pharmaceutical company Mylan winning 3.5 percent, insurer Cigna up 1.9 per cent and drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance winning 2.8 per cent.

Technology shares also outperformed, with Microsoft surging 2 per cent, Oracle jumping 2.3 per cent and eBay 2.2 per cent.