Stocks stabilized in the final hour of trading off the highs of the day, but still up nearly half a percent amid falling oil prices and sliding energy stocks, but in the aftermath of a surprisingly strong report on jobs growth in April.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 65 points, after rising more than 170 points earlier after a strong April jobs report. The blue-chip index sank about 139 points in the previous session amid a broad sell-off in commodities.
Kraft was among Dow stocks that led the average higher thanks to stronger-than-expected earnings results delivered after the market closed on Thursday, and price target upgrades by several brokerages. Intel led the handful of blue-chip laggards.
TheS&P 500 and the Nasdaq also gained. Most S&P 500 sectors gained, led by materials and industrials.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, rose above 18.
The market weakened in mid-afternoon trading as oil prices slipped, dragging energy shares down. The energy sector had earlier led the market higher.
Stocks may have also trimmed gains because of the dollar, which started the session out weaker, but was recently up nearly 1 percent against a basket of currencies. The dollar rose sharply on Thursday as the euro sank as prospects of a June rate hike by the European Central Bank dimmed.
The euro was dealt another blow on Friday after a report in Germany's Spiegel Onlinethat Greece has talked about leaving the euro zone. The report was denied by German officials.
"That could be the most interesting sort of trick in the market’s book," said J.J. Kinahan. "If the dollar were to strengthen, that could throw people for a loop."
A falling dollar has aided stocks, as investors support companies that can benefit from selling their goods at more competitive prices overseas.
Some of the late afternoon weakness can also be attributed to traders wishing to close out their positions before the weekend. "They want to go home without worry," Kinahan said.
Friday's market action, while somewhat volatile, is nothing like the "Flash Crash," when the Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points in minutes. While the new rules that have been implemented since the incident have reduced the severity of future crashes, skeptics still believe that the system has flawsand is vulnerable to individual stock disruptions.
Stocks surged after the market opened after news of a 244,000 jump in nonfarm payrolls for April, a figure that was far above analyst estimates for about a 186,000 gain.
The jump was great news for stocks, says Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading. The best part of the report was that private payrolls gained 268,000 in April, up from 231,000 in March, Schoenberger said.
"It's obvious these jobs are sticky, and not of the temporary, part-time variety," Schoenberger said. (Another View: Dark Side of Jobs Report—Why the Numbers Aren't so Good).
The April report also counters dismal economic news released earlier in the week, including a weak report on service sector growth, as well as a big jump in initial claims for unemployment benefits. Although same store sales datafrom retailers showed relative strength on Thursday.