Stocks ended higher Friday after erasing early losses, as investors weighed a disappointing jobs report against the possibility that interest rates will remain low for now.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5%, the Nasdaq climbed 0.4% and the S&P 500 added 0.3%. Volume was slightly lower than Thursday on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq in the stock market today, according to preliminary data. Winners led losers by a ratio of about 5 to 3 on the NYSE; advancers narrowly outpaced decliners on the Nasdaq.
U.S. employers added 160,000 jobs last month, well below estimates for 200,000, lowering the chance of a Fed rate hike at its June 15 meeting. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5%, in line with views.
The market’s late rally didn’t help drugmakers, as Endo International (ENDP) plunged 39% in heavy trade following a disappointing sales and profit outlook. The stock is now a whopping 81% off its 52-week high.
Software, drugmakers and airline stocks were among the biggest losers, while energy, gold miners and steel stocks outperformed as oil and gold rose.
The gaming software group also fared well, thanks to Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which jumped more than 8% in huge trade to its best level in nearly four months. Shares are extended from a 35.70 cup-with-handle buy point. Mizuho and Pacific Crest Securities raised their price targets on the stock. Activision on Thursday reported Q1 results that smashed views, helped by its King Digital acquisition and strong demand for its “Call of Duty: Black Ops III” game.
Also, Yelp (YELP) gapped up and soared 24% in heavy volume, retaking its 200-day moving average for the first time since September 2014. The stock has been in a steep decline since then. It’s now 47% below its 52-week high. Late Thursday, the online review site reported Q1 results that beat views, and raised its Q2 and full-year revenue guidance.
Among recent IPOs, Square (SQ) gapped down and sank nearly 22% in heavy volume after reporting mixed Q1 results late Thursday. Shares are 35% off their high and 14% above their Nov. 19 offering price. Wedbush downgraded the mobile-payments provider to underperform from neutral. Square’s post-IPO lockup period expires May 16.
Key economic data due next week include retail sales and producer prices for April and consumer confidence for May.