Stocks Close Higher as Tech Shares Lead After U.S. Jobs Data

Stocks end higher Friday after the U.S. adds fewer-than-expected jobs to payrolls in May.
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Stocks finished higher Friday and tech shares surged after the U.S. added fewer-than-expected jobs to payrolls in May but the report did suggest the employment picture might slowly be improving.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 179 points, or 0.52%, to 34,756 and the S&P 500 gained 0.88% to almost 4,230, near its May 7 record close at 4,232. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended up 1.47%. Shares of Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report and Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report finished higher.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.7%, the S&P 500 gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs last month, below forecasts of 650,000 but more than double the 266,000 of April. 

Wages surged 2% from last year, adding to inflation worries and underscoring the challenge employers face in bringing workers back into the market over the final months of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% in May from 6.1%, the Labor Department reported.

Two Employment Trends RealMoney's Jensen Is Watching Closely

"Hiring is at the highest level that we’ve seen in the last four years; however, a full recovery is being held back by a shortage in job candidates and their hesitance to get back into the labor force," said Andrew Hunter, co-founder and economist at job search company Adzuna. 

"With federal unemployment benefits due to expire after Labor Day and a handful of states already attempting to coax candidates back by paying for workers’ hiring bonuses, it’s very likely that the recovery will pick up over the next few months," Hunter added.

Investors have begun parsing the jobs data for how it might affect the Federal Reserve's next steps on monetary policy.

Wall Street has been closely watching for signs of inflation and indications of whether the Fed could put the brakes on the rebounding U.S. economy sooner than anticipated. 

Fed officials repeatedly have said it's too early to withdraw support for an economy just beginning to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loretta Mester, Cleveland Fed president, told CNBC that jobs gains in May were “solid” but not enough to change the direction of monetary policy.

AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get Report ended down 6.7% on Friday. The stock move followed a share sale that collected $587 million for the struggling movie-theater chain, which has become a favorite of the retail trading crowd.

CEO Adam Aron made the case for another round of capital raising that would give AMC the ability to pursue "value creation opportunities" for its army of retail investors. AMC is looking for approval to sell 25 million shares at some point next year.

Meanwhile, a cryptic tweet from Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report CEO Elon Musk hinted at a breakup with Bitcoin, sending the world's largest cryptocurrency tumbling early Friday.

Bitcoin fell 4.37% to $36,982 following Musk's tweet in which he wrote the hashtag #Bitcoin with a broken heart emoji. He also referenced lyrics from "In the End," a song by Linkin Park.