Dow closes nearly 340-points higher after jobs report sparks stock-market rally

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U.S. stocks closed solidly higher Friday, helping to wipe out or chip away at weekly losses, after an key employment report for November ignited bullish buying on Wall Street, adding to some modest progress toward a partial Sino-American trade agreement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 337 points, or 1.2%, to reach 28,015, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.9% to 3,146, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1% to 8,656. The moves on Friday were in contrast to trading that started the week after President Donald Trump in London implied that he would wait until 2020 to cement a phase-one trade agreement. For the week, the Dow and the Nasdaq finished down 0.1%, while the S&P 500 notched a 0.2% gain for the 5-day trading stretch. The economy created 266,000 new jobs, the most since January, and the unemployment rote fell to 3.5%, a 50 year low, Labor Department data showed, signaling that the jobs market remains robust even though economic growth has slowed. The government also revised the increase in new jobs in October to 156,000 from 128,000 and September’s gain was raised to 193,000 from 180,000. The increase in new jobs easily topped the 180,000 MarketWatch forecast, helped by the end of the General Motors auto-workers strike which added roughly 50,000 jobs to the payrolls number. The unemployment rate slipped to 3.5% from 3.6% and matched a 50-year low. The average wage paid to American workers rose 7 cents, or 0.2%, to $28.29 an hour. The 12-month rate of hourly wage gains slipped to 3.1% from 3.2%. Helping to lift stocks even before the jobs report was news that China’s State Council had begun the process on Friday of exempting some soybeans and pork imported from the U.S. from import tariffs, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said, a move taken as a sign of progress on at least a partial trade pact. The action comes about nine days from a Dec. 15 deadline at which import duties on $156 billion in China goods will be raised to 15%. In corporate news, Shares of Apple Inc. surged above its record closing price. The day’s gains put the main benchmarks just short of their record closes.

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