US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow end at record highs as weak jobs data eases rate worries

Reuters

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    * All indexes rise; tech rebounds
    * Square shares gain after results 
    * U.S. job growth far below expectations in April  

 (Updates to close)
    By Krystal Hu
    NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow hit
record highs on Friday, while megacap growth stocks drove a
recovery on Nasdaq after U.S. jobs data eased concerns over
prospects for rising rates.
    U.S. job growth unexpectedly slowed in April, likely
restrained by shortages of workers, the Labor Department report
on Friday showed.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2MT2XD
    The report alleviated some concerns about rising inflation
and potentially higher U.S. interest rates, which some investors
worry would hurt growth companies with high valuations.
    "Growth names that were taken to the woodshed are getting
another chance, because they will be perceived to be less risky
in an environment where there is a slower recovery, and that's
really what the jobs data is indicating", said Tom Martin,
senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments.
    Heavily-weighted growth stocks such as Microsoft Corp
 MSFT.O , Apple Inc  AAPL.O  and Alphabet  GOOGL.O  all rose,
but all major S&P 500 sectors also ended in green, with energy
 SPNY  and real estate  SPLRCR  leading the advance. Energy and
materials  SPLRCM  hit fresh highs earlier. 
    Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose
227.91 points, or 0.66%, to 34,776.44, the S&P 500  .SPX  gained
30.81 points, or 0.73%, to 4,232.43 and the Nasdaq Composite
 .IXIC  added 119.40 points, or 0.88%, to 13,752.24.
    "The anticipation and confirmation of (Federal Reserve)
policy staying the same and continued economic recovery with
vaccines rollout have fueled these all-time highs, but we do
believe the volatility is going to be tightened in the short
term," said Greg Bassuk, chief executive at Axs Investments.
    A raft of upbeat earnings also helped stocks, and S&P 500
earnings are now estimated to have increased 50.4% in the first
quarter from a year ago, which would be the highest growth rate
since the first quarter of 2010, according to Refinitiv data. 
    Payments firm Square Inc  SQ.N  rose after reporting a
better-than-expected quarterly profit, as surging demand for
bitcoin fueled a jump in cryptocurrency transactions on its
application.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MT4VA
    Streaming device maker Roku Inc  ROKU.O  jumped following an
upbeat revenue outlook, while fitness equipment maker Peloton
Interactive Inc  PTON.O  gained as it laid out steps to improve
the safety of its equipment.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MT5QW  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2MT4SV
    Expedia Group Inc  EXPE.O  shares rose as analysts raised
price targets following the company's upbeat results. 

 (Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; additional reporting by
Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by
Marguerita Choy)
 ((krystal.hu@thomsonreuters.com))

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