After moving sharply higher at the open, stocks have continued to perform well over the course of morning trading on Friday. The major averages remain firmly in positive territory, offsetting the losses posted in the four previous sessions.
Much of the strength on Wall Street stems from a positive reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing stronger than expected U.S. job growth in the month of July.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment increased by 163,000 jobs in July following a downwardly revised increase of 64,000 jobs in June. Economists had expected employment to increase by about 100,000 jobs.
Despite the stronger than expected job growth for the month, the unemployment rate edged up to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent in June. The increase surprised economists, who had expected the unemployment rate to come in unchanged.
A separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed a slightly faster rate of growth in the service sector, with the index of activity in the sector climbing to 52.6 in July from 52.1 in June.
Significant strength remains visible in most of the major sectors, with steel stocks posting particularly strong gains on the day. Reflecting the strength in the steel sector, the NYSE Arca Steel Index has surged up by 3.6 percent.
Brokerage stocks have also moved sharply higher, driving the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index up by 2.8 percent. With the gain, the index is bouncing off the three-year closing low it set on Thursday.
Railroad, healthcare provider, banking, and defense stocks are also posting notable gains amid broad based buying interest on Wall Street.
The major averages have pulled back off their best levels in recent trading but continue to post substantial gains. The Dow is up 208.43 points or 1.6 percent at 13,087.31, the Nasdaq is up 57.08 points or 2 percent at 2,966.85 and the S&P 500 is up 24.51 points or 1.8 percent at 1,389.51.
by RTT Staff Writer
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