U.S. stocks rallied Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaping 250 points, after the jobs report showed the U.S. economy created more-than-expected jobs in April, following a sharp hiring downturn in March. All 10 sectors rose in trading Friday, led by gains in health care and consumer goods & services.
In morning trading, the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) soared 249 points, or 1.39 percent, to 18,173. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 24.20 points, or 1.16 percent, to 2,112. And the Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 55.80 points, or 1.13 percent, to 5,001.
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. The report was expected to show that employers added 224,000 jobs in April, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
In the last several months, more job opportunities have materialized, but with a smaller labor force, it’s now more difficult to fill those positions, says Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed. “The question now is whether people are going to come back into the labor force and take those jobs, or if the economy is starting to approach full employment,” Sinclair said.
Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD), the world's No. 1 home-improvement retailer, led the blue-chip index Thursday, gaining more than 3 percent, while shares of aerospace company Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) and software giant Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) jumped nearly 3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
Shares of Microsoft, the world's largest software company, traded as high as $47.98 per share Friday following a report it currently is not weighing an offer for Salesforce.com Inc., Reuters reported Thursday evening, citing two people familiar with the matter. Microsoft has remained in focus this week following a Bloomberg report Tuesday that said the company was evaluating a bid for the cloud computing company.
All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, with the healthcare sector jumping 1.5 percent as biotechnology company Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) rose 2.5 percent. In the consumer goods & services sector, Stamps.com Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP) soared nearly 17 percent after the Internet-based postage solutions company posted strong first quarter earnings a day earlier.
Meanwhile, shares of Syngenta AG (NYSE:SYT) soared nearly 13 percent Friday after the Swiss agrochemical company rejected an unsolicited takeover offer from rival Monsanto Co., valued at around $45 billion, saying the offer “undervalues” the company.
Shares of AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) leaped nearly 9 percent after the company's quarterly revenue surpassed Wall Street expectations. AOL's advertising revenue jumped 21 percent in the first quarter to $279.8 million, accounting for about 45 percent of the company's total revenue.