NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks moved confidently higher by midday Friday after Wall Street applauded that 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 1.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was climbing 1.38%, 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.
The question now will be whether the economy is growing fast enough for 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.
The Fed has "kept rates so low for so long and I think they'll take the risk of beginning to tighten," Jerry Webman, chief economist of OppenheimerFunds told TheStreet TV. "That's why September looks reasonable, even though we're seeing these neither here nor there kind of [jobs] numbers."
Crude oil settled higher on Friday. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 46 cents to $59.39 a barrel. Crude rose 0.78% for the week.
European and Asian markets rose on Friday. The FTSE 100 closed up 2.21%, Germany's DAX rose 2.51% while China's Shanghai Composite closed up 2.28%.
In IPO news, shares of Bojangles' (BOJA), the fried-chicken-and-a-biscuit Southern chain, spiked as much as 47% from its IPO price of $19, after it began trading Friday on the Nasdaq. Bojangles priced its IPO Thursday evening at the high end of its range. The initial suggested price range was $15 to $17 for 7.75 million shares to be sold. The stock was trading around $24.99 at last check.
Elsewhere, in corporate news:
Monster Beverage (MNST) shares slumped 10.1% following disappointing earnings. The energy drink company reported net income of $4.41 million, or 3 cents a share, compared to $95.3 million, or 55 cents, in the year-earlier period. Monster's expanded deal with Coca-Cola (KO), a major stakeholder, forced the Corona, Calif.-based company to pay $206 million in early termination fees to other partners last quarter.
CBS (CBS) shares were down 0.7%, after earnings of $394 million, or 78 cents a share, fell from the year-earlier quarter but topped analysts' expectations. The media conglomerate reported revenue fell 2% to $3.5 billion for the March-ended quarter, which CBS blamed on one fewer National Football League football game on CBS Television Network and lower advertising revenue.
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 9.6%, while Monsanto stock rose 2.2%.
AOL (AOL) shares surged 11.2% 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 1.5% 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."