U.S. stocks closed sharply higher Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging 260 points, after the U.S. economy was shown to post strong job growth in April. All three major indexes rallied Friday, led by gains from the financial, health care and energy sectors.
The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) soared 267 points, or 1.49 percent, to close at 18,191. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 28.10 points, or 1.35 percent, to end at 2,116.10. And the Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 58 points, or 1.17 percent, to finish at 5,003.55.
Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) led the blue-chip index higher Thursday, leaping more than 4 percent in the last hour of trading to an all-time intraday high of $70.16. The gains followed reports the company is in talks to buy its former subsidiary, Visa Europe, for as much as $20 billion, Bloomberg reported. Shares closed up 4.3 percent to $69.47.
Syngenta AG (NYSE:SYT) soared 11 percent Friday to close at $85.75 after the Swiss insecticide maker rejected an unsolicited $45 billion takeover offer from U.S. rival Monsanto Company. Syngenta said the bid “undervalues” the company.
Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:MNST) tumbled 10 percent to close at $128.47, a day after the energy drink maker posted a massive hit to its profits, mostly due to costs related to the termination of third-party distribution partnerships ahead of its partnership with Coca-Cola Co.
The April employment report showed the U.S. economy created more jobs in April, following a sharp hiring downturn in March. “I saw it as an encouraging report, and there’s clearly a sigh of relief in the U.S. financial markets,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.4 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.