By Wall Street's reaction, it looked as though investors didn't know what to make of the April jobs report.
On the one hand, the disappointing headline number suggested a weaker U.S. economy. But on the other, a weaker economy meant another interest-rate hike from the Federal Reserve may be delayed longer than initially expected.
By market close, the S&P 500 was up 0.32%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.45%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.4%. Earlier, all benchmark indexes had been deep in the red, with the Nasdaq briefly entering correction territory.
U.S. employers added 160,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in April, below an expected 200,000 increase. Job gains in March were cut to 208,000 from 215,000, while February's increase was reduced to 233,000 from 245,000.
On the upside, the unemployment rate held at 5% and average hourly wages rose 0.3%, for a total gain of 2.5% in the past 12 months.
"The headline number was definitely disappointing, and all but erases any chance of a rate hike in June," said Chris Gaffney, president of World Markets at EverBank.
The lack of meaningful wage growth combined with the uncertainty of a presidential election in November will likely force the central bank's monetary policy committee members "to sit on their hands until the end of the year," he said. "This confirms we will have lower rates for longer -- more of the same."
The chances of a June rate hike are currently at 11%, according to the CME Group. Fed funds futures indicate a 28% chance for a hike in July and 41% odds in September. The Fed left the benchmark rate unchanged at its April meeting.
Crude oil prices rose after another weekly decline in active oil rigs. The number of oil rigs in the U.S. fell by 4 to 328, according to Baker Hughes. Crude-drilling rigs have fallen for the past seven weeks in a row. West Texas Intermediate finished the day 0.8% higher at $44.66 a barrel.
In earnings news, DreamWorks (DWA) swung to surprise profit in its recent quarter, generating per-share earnings of 16 cents, compared with a net loss of 64 cents a year earlier. Revenue jumped 14% to $190.4 million. NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report , has agreed to purchase DreamWorks.
Square (SQ) - Get Square, Inc. Class A Report slumped 22% after reporting a quarterly net loss of 29 cents a share, far steeper than an expected loss of 6 cents. Revenue inched just 1% higher to $374 million.
Yelp (YELP) - Get Yelp Inc Report surged 24% after topping quarterly estimates on its top and bottom lines. The online reviews site earned an adjusted 8 cents a share in its first quarter, more than double expectations, while revenue of $158.6 million beat consensus of $155.6 million.
GoPro (GPRO) - Get GoPro, Inc. Class A Report fell 2.3% despite reporting a narrower-than-expected quarterly net loss and issuing strong full-year sales guidance. The action camera maker expects fiscal 2016 revenue between $1.35 billion and $1.5 billion. Analysts had expected sales at the low-end of that range.