Wall Street was set to close its best week in six on Friday after economic data, including a stronger-than-expected labor market report, helped soothe fears the economy could fall back into recession.
The S&P 500 has gained more than 5 percent in the last four days. Treasury debt prices have fallen, while the U.S. dollar dipped as investors moved out of safe havens.
Sectors sensitive to economic swings like technology and financials have led the week's gains in equities. On Friday, the S&P financial sector index <.GSPF> rose 1.9 percent with Janus Capital
U.S. payrolls fell for a third straight month in August, the Labor Department said, but the loss of 54,000 non-farm jobs was far less than the 100,000 expected by economists polled by Reuters, and private hiring surprised on the upside.
Equity markets had priced in the non-trivial probability of a double dip, and what you're seeing is that fear pricing is coming out, said Mike Dueker, head of economics at Russell Investments in Tacoma, Washington.
Recovery will be slow, but at least reliable, and that should add some tailwinds (for stocks) the rest of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 111.11 points, or 1.08 percent, to 10,431.21, edging back into the black for the year. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 12.12 points, or 1.11 percent, to 1,102.22. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 28.81 points, or 1.31 percent, to 2,228.82.
The S&P traded above 1,100 for the first time since August 11 and its Bollinger bands chart shows the benchmark clearly above its 20-day moving average. That makes the upper band, now at 1,123, a short-term target.
The move higher faces strong resistance, with the 200-day moving average at 1,116. Chartists point to 1,130 as key resistance, tested in June and early August, with both failures generating steep declines.
The S&P has risen 3.5 percent so far this week but is still down about 10 percent from its 2010 high set in late April.
Stocks sold off sharply in August on concerns the U.S. economy could be headed for a double-dip recession. But a report that showed the manufacturing sector grew more than expected last month sparked a rally on Wednesday that drove stocks up to mark their best day in eight weeks.
There was some support on the corporate front. Take-Two Interactive Inc
Technology stocks have outperformed the market this week. The PHLX semiconductor index <.SOX> has gained 6.6 percent in the past three days, its best such run since mid-June.
On the downside, Campbell Soup Co
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Additional reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jan Paschal)