NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks opened higher on Friday, after the U.S. added 223,000 jobs to payrolls in April, in line with expectations. The national unemployment rate fell to 5.4% in April from 5.5% last month.
The S&P 500 was up 0.99%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was climbing 1.2%, and the Nasdaq added 1%.
Economists were expecting 225,000 jobs to be added in April, far better than 126,000 added in March.
Jobs increased in professional and business services, health care and construction, while jobs in mining continued to decline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages ticked slightly higher. Average hourly earnings for private sector employees rose 3 cents, or 0.1%, from March to $24.87. Average hourly earnings rose 2.2% over the past 12 months, according to the data.
Stocks on Thursday closed higher as investors awaited the jobs report. A strong nonfarm payrolls report might prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than later. Speculation has continued over whether the Fed would raise rates in June or push it back to September or later.
Crude oil had topped a five-month high of $62 a barrel earlier in the week after U.S. inventories unexpectedly fell. Brent crude oil was up 0.55% higher to $65.90 a barrel on Friday, while West Texas Intermediate was up 1.02% to $59.54 a barrel.
European and Asian markets were all higher on Friday. The FTSE 100 was up 2.13%; Germany's DAX was up 1.34% while China's Shanghai Composite closed up 2.28%.
Elsewhere, in corporate news:
Swiss agricultural company Syngenta (SYT) a Swiss agricultural company, rejected Monsanto's (MON) $45 billion bid to take it over. Syngenta said the price was too low and that regulatory hurdles would be difficult to clear. Syngenta's ADRs surged 13%, while Monsanto stock rose 0.54%.
AOL (AOL) shares surged 9.3% to $41.50 after beating consensus expectations. AOL reported $7 million, or 9 cents a share, for the first quarter, down from $9.3 million, or 11 cents, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted earnings came in at 34 cents a share for the three-month period ended March 31, beating expectations of 32 cents.. Revenue also beat estimates, coming in at $625.1 million for the quarter.
McDonald's (MCD) shares were up 1.4% after the fast-food chain reported U.S. sales fell 2.3% in April fueled by ongoing competition and falling traffic, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said. On a global scale, McDonald's sales fell 0.6% last month, fueled by its Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.
"Earlier this week, we announced the initial steps in McDonald's business turnaround plan," CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a press release. "We are moving quickly to deliver a better experience to our customers and to realize our vision to become a modern, progressive burger company."
Yelp (YELP) shares were rising 2%, following Thursday's stock surge on news that it may be looking for a buyer.
In IPO news, Bojangles, the fried-chicken-and-a-biscuit Southern chain, priced its IPO Thursday evening at the high end of its range, at $19 per share. The company will trade on the Nasdaq as BOJA. That will place the company valuation at about $680 million. The initial suggested price range was $15 to $17 for 7.75 million shares to be sold. The stock is expected to begin trading Friday.