Nasdaq ends at record after strong US jobs data

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks powered higher on Friday (May 3), with the Nasdaq notching a new all-time record, following a strong US jobs report that put unemployment at a 49-year low.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index finished at 8,164.00, up 1.6 per cent and about two points above a record earlier in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 per cent, rising to 26,504.95, while the S&P 500 climbed 1 per cent to 2,945.64, narrowly missing a record of its own.

The US economy added 263,000 net new positions in April, well above the 200,000 forecast by analysts.

Unemployment fell two tenths to 3.6 per cent but the decline was in part because the pool of workers shrank and fewer people were looking for jobs, pulling them out of the labour force, the Labour Department reported.

Even with the positive attributes to the April jobs data, the report showed wage inflation was measured, putting little pressure on the US Federal Reserve to boost interest rates, analysts said.

"I don't think everything is quite as rosy as the jobs numbers suggest but for now traders are happy," FTN Financial's Chris Low told AFP.

Low also pointed to a report from the Institute for Supply Management that showed services sector activity dipped in April.

Low said investors were also cheered by news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had invested in Amazon, which jumped 3.2 per cent.

"It's him (Buffett) signing off the on the US stock market rally," Low said. "It's not like him to make a high-profile buy at a market top."

Earnings news was mixed, with Activision Blizzard losing 4.8 per cent, Monster Beverage gaining 8.8 percent and Gilead Sciences advancing 2.8 per cent.

Marriott International advanced 2.4 per cent after disclosing that chief executive Arne Sorenson had been diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer.

In a message to employees, Sorenson said the cancer was discovered early and that his doctors "are confident that we can realistically aim for a complete cure."

Sorenson said he intends to continue working at the hotel giant.