NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were trading mixed on Friday with the S&P 500 slightly lower as Wall Street was torn as to whether a blowout nonfarm payrolls report was a good thing for equities or not.
The S&P 500 was down 0.03%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.26%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.26%. All benchmark indexes were on track for a weekly loss.
Crude oil prices staged a late-day rally on Friday with West Texas Intermediate closing 2% higher to $59.13 a barrel. The commodity was 1.9% lower for the week, its first weekly loss in 12 weeks after a selloff on Thursday.
Earlier moves had been muted after Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its production target after meeting in Vienna on Friday. The group held production at 30 billion barrels a day despite the global oil market having seen prices plummet since last July.
"This outcome was widely expected ... but the announcement re-instills in us the certainty of a perpetuated oil glut going forward," said Daniel Holder, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.
For economists, the jobs report reinforced views first-quarter softness was an aberration and not indicative of a fundamental slowdown in the U.S. economy. On the other hand, the jobs report heralded fears the Federal Reserve will feel more confident raising rates sooner than later.
"For the Fed this is encouraging news and will help to mitigate concerns about the slowdown in the first quarter," said Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS. "They will no doubt like to see more evidence suggesting growth is firmly back on an uptrend before beginning to hike rates. Thus, we remain comfortable with our call for the first rate hike in September."
The U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department said Friday, further proof a weak March number was an aberration in a soft first quarter. Economists had expected the economy to add 210,000 jobs in May. April's jobs number was revised down to 221,000 from 223,000.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5% from 5.4%. Hourly earnings rose 0.3% in May, adding to a 2.3% annual rate. The labor force participation rate increased to 62.9% from 62.8%.
The numbers were "certainly more supportive of the first quarter being an aberration than indicative of a slowing trend," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank, in a call. "The numbers verify that there is growth out there and that the growth is firming ... That should hopefully bolster consumer confidence and have some follow-through into retail sales."
Bank stocks rallied on rate hike speculation. Bank of America(BAC) - Get Report was up 2.7%, Citigroup(C) - Get Report added 1.5%, Morgan Stanley(MS) - Get Report climbed 1.3% and JPMorgan(JPM) - Get Report jumped 2%.
Treasury yields spiked on the jobs report with the U.S. 10-year yield jumping to a year-to-date high of 2.435%. The gains added to a total increase of 26.9 basis points earlier in the week as Treasuries sold off, leading yields to notch their biggest three-day gain since June 2013.
Likewise, the U.S. dollar gained against a number of international currencies, including the euro, Japanese yen, British pound and Aussie dollar.
The telecom sector was the worst performer on Friday as Verizon Communications(VZ) - Get Report, down 1.9%, dragged on the Dow. AT&T(T) - Get Report dropped 1.5%, Vodafone(VOD) - Get Report fell 1.6%, and Sprint(S) - Get Report tumbled 1%.
Dow Chemical(DOW) - Get Report defended CEO Andrew Liveris after Reuters reported he is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, reportedly for alleged use of company funds for personal use.
Diamond Foods (DMND) jumped 7.9% after swinging to profit in its third quarter. The company earned 23 cents a share, better than an expected profit of 14 cents a share.