Stocks Rally On Hot Jobs Data, Defy Interest Rate Fears, Gold Hits New High, Oil Tops $87: What's Driving Markets Friday?

Zinger Key Points
  • Stocks and commodities thrive on Friday despite fears of delayed Federal Reserve rate cuts, spurred by a strong labor market report.
  • U.S. economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, smashing expectations and marking the highest gain since May 2023; wage growth eases.

It’s a day of broad-based rallies on Wall Street, with both stocks and commodities showcasing robust performances in the wake of a hotter-than-expected labor market report, seemingly unfazed by growing fears over delays in the Federal Reserve’s rate cut plans.

In March, the U.S. economy added 303,000 new employees, the highest level since May 2023, and well above the expected 200,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Yet, annual wage growth eased as expected, partially alleviating inflationary fears.

Traders have adjusted their expectations for a Federal Reserve rate cut in June downwards, with money market pricing currently suggesting nearly a 50-50 probability between a rate cut and maintaining rates steady, according to the CME Group Fed Watch.

The S&P 500 soared 1.3%, rebounding after Thursday’s 1.2% decline. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rallied 1.7%, after losing 1.6% a day earlier, and blue-chip stocks inched 1% higher.

Commodities sustained their upward momentum, with gold notably surpassing new all-time highs, breaching the $2,300 per ounce mark with a 1.7% increase, effortlessly shrugging off pressures from rising Treasury yields.

Crude oil prices tallied their sixth consecutive session of increases, or fourth straight positive week, with the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) climbing to $87 a barrel, marking its highest point since Oct. 23, 2023.

Bitcoin BTC/USD traded 1% lower to $67,800, with the largest cryptocurrency on track for the worst-performing week since early January 2024.

Friday’s Performance In Major US Indices, ETFs

Major Indices & ETFsPrice1-day %chg
Nasdaq 10018,170.171.6%
S&P 5005,212.141.3%
Dow Jones38,963.611.0%
Russell 20002,070.240.7%

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY was 1.2% higher to $518.98, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average DIA was 0.9% higher to $389.41 and the tech-heavy Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ was 1.5% higher to $441.94, according to Benzinga Pro data

Sector-wise, the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK outperformed, up 1.3%, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund XLU was the laggard, flat for the day.

Friday’s Stock Movers

  • Newmont Corp. NEM soared 4.6%, on track for its ninth straight session of gains, buoyed by increasingly elevated gold prices.
  • Coeur Mining Inc. CDE rallied over 12% on rising silver prices.
  • GE Aerospace GE rose 4.5%, after the spin-off company from GE Vernova Inc. GEV announced its first quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share.
  • Shares of Enphase Energy Inc. ENPH fell by 5.5% in trading on Friday after the company announced that David Ranhoff would be stepping down as chief commercial officer. Furthermore, Citigroup revised its recommendation for Enphase, moving from a “Buy” to a “Neutral” rating, and lowered the price target for the stock from $126 to $121.

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