US Markets

Dow, S&P 500 notch record closes after strong jobs report

Key Points
  • The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 closed at record highs.
All major indexes rise, Dow and S&P 500 notch record close

U.S. equities closed higher on Friday following the release of a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 117.68 points to 24,329.16. The gained 0.6 percent to close at 2,651.50 with health care rising more than 1 percent. Both indexes also closed at record highs.

The Nasdaq composite jumped 0.4 percent to finish at 6,840.08, as shares of Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet rose.

The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 200,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

"It was another solid report, but wages were a disappointing factor," said Craig Bishop, vice president of U.S. fixed income at RBC Wealth Management.

Average hourly earnings — a closely watched component of the report — rose 0.2 percent for November and 2.5 percent for the year. Economists expected a monthly increase of 0.3 percent or 2.7 percent for the year.

"What it means is that it could take some of the pressure off the Fed to stick to its three rate-hike forecast for next year if wages soften up," said RBC's Bishop.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet next week, with analysts largely expecting the central bank to raise interest rates on Wednesday.

"They're almost certain to still hike next week in part because this is what they have led investors to expect," said Luke Bartholomew, investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. "The big question going into the end of the year is exactly what needs to be done to stir some life in wage growth. Trump's tax cuts will play into the debate but they won't solve the riddle."

Wall Street also looked overseas as European shares rose after the U.K. and the European Union agreed on three key issues slowing down Brexit negotiations. The Stoxx 600 index — which tracks a broad swath of European stocks — rose 0.7 percent, while the German Dax gained 0.8 percent.

In corporate news, Alexion Pharmaceuticals shares popped 7.2 percent after Leerink Partners said it sees the stock rising 30 percent in a base outcome from Phase 3 trials for ALXN1210, a drug that aims at treating paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.