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Stocks Close at Record Highs on Jobs Gains, Pfizer COVID-19 Drug

Stocks close at record highs again Friday bolstered by a strong job reports and promising data on Pfizer's Covid-19 antiviral pill.

The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record highs again Friday on stronger-than-expected October jobs gains and encouraging data on Pfizer's  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report Covid-19 treatment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 203 points, or 0.56%, to 36,327, while the S&P 500, which hit an intraday high, rose 0.37%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which passed the 16,000 point mark for the first time, advanced 0.20%.

For the week, The Dow rose 1.4%, the S&P 500 gained 2%, and the Nasdaq rallied 3.1%.

The Bureau for Labor Statistics said 531,000 new jobs were created last month, with headline unemployment rate falling to a post-pandemic low of 4.6%. The October tally was firmly ahead of Wall Street's consensus forecast of 450,000 and the strongest in several months.

“This is the strong progress from the job market that we wanted to see,” said Jeffrey Buchbinder, LPL Financial Equity Strategist. “Some of the pandemic-driven headwinds preventing people from taking open jobs have started to abate, and given strong demand, we expect to see even better numbers in the months ahead.”

Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy E*Trade Financial, said "the report more or less blew it out of the water."

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"Digging into the numbers, the muted wage growth likely calmed inflation worries," he said. "So despite headwinds with supply chain constraints and potential holiday hiring challenges to close out the year, gains on the jobs front today is a win for our recovery."

Stocks were given an added boost from data showing Pfizer's  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report developing Covid antiviral pill cut the risk of hospitalization and death in trial participants by 89% in what CEO Albert Bourla called a "game changer" for the global pandemic. 

Travel stocks climbed on the news, with United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report, American Airlines  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings  (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report all finishing higher.

Uber Technologies  (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report shares gained as passenger traffic increased and costs linked to adding new drivers stabilized. 

On the down side, Peloton Interactive  (PTON) - Get Peloton Interactive, Inc. Class A Report shares tumbled after the connected fitness equipment company cut its forecast for annual revenue by up to $1 billion.

The company said it saw lighter-than-expected holiday sales because of the economic reopening, which has led to people spending more time out of their homes and off their exercise bikes.