Wall Street rallies after upbeat employment report | Reuters

Wall Street rallied toward its fourth consecutive gain on Friday after employment data reduced investors' worries about a sluggish economy without bolstering fears of future interest rate hikes.

For the first time since early January, the Dow Jones industrial average rose above the 17,000 mark and the S&P 500 surpassed 2,000, moves that some traders see as psychologically significant.

The rally followed a report that nonfarm payrolls increased by 242,000 jobs last month. However, lower wages and hours worked kept a lid on inflation, a key factor in the Federal Reserve's decision to raise U.S. interest rates.

"This number shows the economy is strong and the Fed’s got time; it doesn’t have to run off the sidelines and get involved in raising rates," said John Brady, managing director at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago.

The Fed meets next on March 15-16. Traders still see the odds overwhelmingly against a rate hike this month.

The S&P was on track for its fourth consecutive increase. Mostly steady gains in recent weeks have left the index down 2 percent in 2016 after the worst January since 2009.

At 2:36 p.m. (1936 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 0.35 percent at 17,003.38 and the S&P 500 .SPX had gained 0.4 percent to 2,001.35.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.36 percent to 4,724.44.

Eight of the 10 S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.14percent rise in the energy sector .SPNY.

Apple (AAPL.O) rose up 1.38 percent, the strongest positive influence on the S&P 500.

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE.N) jumped 14.33 percent after the company reported better-than-expected results.

Broadcom (AVGO.O) rose 6.75 percent after the chipmaker reported higher-than-expected profits.

H & R Block (HRB.N) fell 16.5 percent after the tax preparer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Carmike Cinemas (CKEC.O) jumped 16.5 percent after AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) said it would buy the theater chain for $1.1 billion, including debt. AMC rose 4.4 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,002 to 990. On the Nasdaq, 1,810 issues rose and 977 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 16 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and 23 lows.

(Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Mar 05, 2016 02:45 AM

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