Stocks ended the week sharply higher on Friday after the U.S. May jobs report showed a surprise 2.5 million jump in payrolls and a drop in the unemployment rate to 13.3% as businesses began to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
How did the benchmarks perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average US:DJIA jumped 829.16 points, or 3.2%, to 27,110.98, while the S&P 500 US:SPX rose 81.58 points, or 2.6%, to 3,193.93. The Nasdaq Composite US:COMP advanced 198.27 points, or 2.1%, to 9,814.08, setting a record intraday high at 9,842.49 in the process, though it ended 3.1 points shy of a new record close.
The Nasdaq-100 US:NDX, meanwhile, rose 194.73 points, or 2% to 9,824.39, a new record.
For the week, the Dow rose 6.8%, the S&P 500 gained 4.9%, while the Nasdaq advanced 3.3% and the Nasdaq-100 rose 2.8%.
What drove the market?
The U.S. May unemployment rate fell to 13.3%from 14.7%, though the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the rate would have been 3 points higher if households had answered their forms correctly. The loss of jobs in April was raised to 20.7 million from 20.5 million.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted the loss of 7.25 million jobs and a May unemployment rate of 19%.
“At the very least, this report affirms that the economy is on the mend and employees are coming back to work after being temporarily unemployed as the unemployment rate declined from 19% to 13.3% with the participation rate moving higher,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, in emailed comments. “Ultimately, this report provides additional confirmation for risk asset investors who are betting on a faster recovery of the economy.”
But market watchers cautioned against reading too much into the data, as well.
“One month does not make a trend, but the sharp turn in May justifies a bit more optimism about the near-term outlook,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran. “It’s still far too soon to know what the path back will look like, but the May employment report opens the door for an outcome that is less dire than the consensus view would suggest.”
Government financial relief measures to limit the harm from business closures have helped to support the economy and stock prices since they fell to lows in late March. Talk of additional funds from Congress could also deliver a fresh fillip to the risk assets, but the strength of the May jobs numbers could dent momentum for more fiscal stimulus, analysts warned, even though the unemployment rate remains excruciatingly high.
The U.S. government has injected some $3 trillion in stimulus into the economy, while the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet rose to $7.21 trillion as of June 3, amid efforts to mitigate the severity of the economic downturn wrought by forced closures intended to limit COVID-19’s spread. Those measures have been often cited as one of the key reasons behind the stock market recovery from its March 23 lows.
The rally Friday was led by sectors considered cyclical, comprising stocks that typically do well when the economic growth is accelerating. The energy sector was the best performing on the day, with the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund US:XLE gaining 7.5% and Dow component Exxon Mobil Corp. US:XOM gaining 8.1%. Occidental Petroleum Co. US:OXY closed up 33.7%, to rank as the best performing stock in the S&P 500, according to FactSet. The financial US:XLF and industrial US:XLI sectors also posted significant gains.
Which stocks were in focus?
- Shares of Boeing Co. US:BA were up 11.5%, leading all Dow components on the day. The stock remains down 36.9% year-to-date.
- Slack Technologies Inc. US:WORK revenue topped $200 million in a quarter for the first time, but the stock still sank. Shares fell 14.2%, though they’re up 44.8% on the year.
- PagerDuty Inc. US:PD shares closed 2.4% after the digital operations-management platform reported fiscal first-quarter results that exceeded Wall Street estimates.
- Shares of DocuSign Inc. US:DOCU fell 0.3% after the company’s latest results showed a boost from companies that were looking for digital ways to execute agreements as the COVID-19 crisis made in-person meetings more difficult. The stock is up 88.4% year-to-date.
- Broadcom Inc. US:AVGO reported results late Thursday that were in line with Wall Street estimates and its outlook range bookended the analyst consensus. Shares rose 2.7%.
- Shift4 Payments Inc. rose 45.8% on its first day on the NYSE, after it priced its initial public offering at $23 a share Thursday night, above its expected range of $19 to $21 a share.
- Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. US:AAL continued to surge Friday, and Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth suggests enough is enough, as she turned bearish on the air carrier. “Taking into consideration the additional debt during the current crisis, we view AAL as priced close to perfection,” she wrote. Shares close 11.2% higher.
How did other assets trade?
The greenback gained 0.3% against its major rivals, gauged by the ICE U.S. Dollar index US:DXY.
— Chris Matthews contributed to this article