ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


U.S. stocks moved broadly higher on Friday after a mixed employment report from the Labor Department provided little hints on the timing of a much-anticipated interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ Composite index and the S&P 500Composite index all gained more than 1% on a bullish day for major indices. The Dow rose by 267.05 or 1.49% to 18,191.11, to post its biggest one-day gain in more than a month as all 30 components closed higher. The NASDAQ gained 58.00 or 1.17% to move above the symbolic 5,000 level at 5,003.55. The S&P 500, meanwhile, rose 28.10 or 1.35% to 2,116.10, as it neared an all-time closing record. All 10 sectors on the S&P 500 closed in the green, as stocks in the Healthcare, Energy and Basic Materials sectors led.

The U.S. Department of Labor said on Friday that nonfarm payrolls for the month of April increased by 223,000, slightly above forecasts for a 220,000 gain. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell by 0.1% to 5.4%, its lowest level since May, 2008 before the Financial Crisis. Nonfarm payrolls for March were also revised downward to 85,000 from an already paltry reading of 126,000.

As a result, the U.S. Dollar Index remained flat in U.S. afternoon trading at 94.73. The index measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies.

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) gained 0.98 or 0.97% to 102.43, after the company promised to create 10,000 U.S. based manufacturing jobs if a comprehensive trade deal with at least 10 Asian-Pacific nations is completed. Nike executives made the announcement in a joint news conference with U.S. president Barack Obama at its company headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

McDonald`s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), meanwhile, rose 1.46 or 1.51% to 98.24 after posting lower than expected sales declines in April. McDonald’s same-store global sales dropped by 0.6% for the month, significantly below forecasts of a 1.8% decline. In Europe, same-store sales grew by 1% spurred by increases in the United Kingdom and Germany.

The top performer on the Dow was Visa Inc (NYSE:V), which gained 2.78 or 4.18% to 69.36 after a report surfaced on Friday that the multi-national credit card company could purchase its Visa Europe arm. The two are currently wholly separate entities. The worst performer was Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), which gained 0.24 or 0.59% to 40.94.

On the NASDAQ, the biggest gainer was TripAdvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) which rose 3.67 or 4.68% to 82.14. On Wednesday, TripAdvisor said quarterly revenues in its hotel booking segment grew 20% on a year-over-year basis. The worst performer was Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST), which fell 14.90 or 10.38% to 128.59 after the energy drink company posted worse than expected earnings on Thursday after the bell.

The top performer on the S&P 500 was NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG), which gained 1.48 or 5.93% to 26.45 on a strong session for energy stocks. Monster Beverage was also the worst performer on the S&P, just below NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) which dropped 1.67 or 7.43% to 20.82, after announcing that it will discontinue its development of LTE modems for smartphones.