S&P 500, Nasdaq end at records after solid US jobs data

NEW YORK (AFP) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at fresh records on Friday (May 5) following a bounce in oil prices and a solid US jobs report for April.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to end the week at 2,399.29 and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.4 per cent to 6,100.76. Both were records.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 per cent to close at 21,005.09.

After a slow March, when hiring likely was held down by a winter storm, the US economic engine added an estimated 211,000 net new positions in April while the jobless rate fell a tenth to 4.4 per cent, the lowest since May 2007, the Labour Department reported.

Analysts said the report further strengthens prospects the Federal Reserve will stick to a planned course of two more interest rate hikes in 2017.

Wall Street initially shrugged off the report, with the Dow veering in and out of negative territory. But stocks strengthened in the afternoon after US oil prices rebounded from their lowest level of 2017.

Energy shares were strong, with Chevron rising 0.9 per cent, ConocoPhillips 1.9 per cent, Halliburton 2.2 per cent and Apache 2.9 per cent.

IBM tumbled 2.5 per cent after billionaire investor Warren Buffett revealed he has sold about a third of his stake and "revalued" downward the computing giant.

Companies with large gains included Apple, up 1.7 per cent and DuPont, up 3 per cent, and Tesla Motors, up 4.4 per cent.

Video game developer Activision Blizzard rose 1.4 per cent after reporting a 17.4 per cent rise in first-quarter profit.