US stocks end at records for 2nd straight day

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished at records again on Friday (June 2) after a lacklustre US jobs report raised expectations the Federal Reserve could take a more gradual approach to increasing interest rates.

All three major stock indices ended at records for the second straight session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.3 per cent to close at 21,206.29.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent to finish at 2,439.07, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 per cent to 6,303.80.

The May jobs report showed unemployment fell to 4.3 per cent, a 16-year low. But the economy added just 138,000 jobs last month, far below expectations, while wage growth remained anemic, rising just 0.2 per cent for the month.

The Fed still is expected to hike interest rates later this month, but analysts said the employment report weakened the chances the central bank will accelerate tightening efforts later this year.

"The market is beginning to rethink the Fed's course and whether there will still be two interest rate increases by the end of the year, plus a reduction of the balance sheet," said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets.

"The report was not bad, but was also not too good," he added.

Technology shares led the broader market, with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Netflix all up more than 1 per cent and Microsoft winning 2.4 per cent.

But petroleum-linked equities suffered another weak session as oil prices declined again. Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron each lost more than one percent, along with oil services giant Schlumberger.

Companies with big stock moves after earnings included Broadcom, up 8.5 per cent, Lululemon Athletica, up 11.6 per cent, and Restoration Hardware, down 25.7 per cent.