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

·2 min read

* 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. 

  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 , Apple Inc and Alphabet all rose, but all major S&P 500 sectors also ended in green, with energy and real estate leading the advance. Energy and materials hit fresh highs earlier. 

  Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 227.91 points, or 0.66%, to 34,776.44, the S&P 500 gained 30.81 points, or 0.73%, to 4,232.43 and the Nasdaq Composite 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 rose after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as surging demand for bitcoin fueled a jump in cryptocurrency transactions on its application. 

  Streaming device maker Roku Inc jumped following an upbeat revenue outlook, while fitness equipment maker Peloton Interactive Inc gained as it laid out steps to improve the safety of its equipment. 

  Expedia Group Inc 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) 

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