U.S. stocks are rising in Friday afternoon trading after the government said job growth continued at a strong clip in March. Makers of consumer goods and household products are climbing. Energy and mining companies are struggling as the prices of oil and precious metals drop.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,777 as of 3:15 p.m. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,069. The Nasdaq composite index gained 36 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,906. Stocks haven’t made many sharp moves in recent weeks, but have drifted gradually higher.
HIRING CONTINUES: Employers continued to bring on new workers at a steady clip. The U.S. government reported that private employers added 215,000 jobs in March, a bit more than expected. That shows employers are confident enough to add staff even though overall economic growth has slowed down. More people also looked for work and pay ticked higher.
CONSUMER POWER: Consumer companies advanced. Drugstore chain Walgreens rose $2.50, or 3 percent, to $86.74. Procter & Gamble, which makes Pampers diapers, Tide detergent and Olay beauty products, gained $1.02, or 1.2 percent, to $83.34. Mondelez, the maker of Oreo cookies and Trident gum, added $1.02, or 2.5 percent, to $41.14.
THE QUOTE: Kate Warne, investment strategist for Edward Jones, said the report shows the U.S. economy is staying on track and growth remains steady despite all the stock market turmoil this year.
“That means more spending on everything from housing to McDonald’s,” she said. “It’s one more confirmation that the worries from earlier in the year really weren’t warranted.”
OIL: Energy prices dropped as investors grew pessimistic about the fate of a proposed deal for major oil-producing nations to reduce production. U.S. crude fell $1.55, or 4 percent, to $36.79 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for pricing international oils, gave up $1.66, or 4.1 percent, to $38.67 a barrel in London.
Apache lost $1.51, or 3.1 percent, to $47.30 and Marathon Oil retreated 70 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $10.44.
DRIVE MY CAR: Tesla Motors gained $8.73, or 3.8 percent, to $238.50 after the electric car company said it received a flood of orders for Model 3, the new, lower-priced vehicle it announced on Thursday. On Twitter, CEO Elon Musk said the company has booked 198,000 orders.
HITTING THE BRAKES: Automakers are falling even though the U.S. auto industry on pace for its best month in 10 years. While people keep buying cars and trucks in big numbers, discounts are jumping, and there were more selling days last month than usual, which boosted sales.
Ford lost 36 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $13.15 and General Motors declined 93 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $30.51.
ARRIVEDERCI, ANBANG: Just days after it offered to buy Starwood Hotels for $15 billion, a consortium led by Anbang Insurance Group ended its bid. Starwood had accepted a $14 billion offer from Marriott but said Anbang’s bid was better.
Starwood fell $3.93, or 4.7 percent, to $79.50 and Marriott lost $3.75, or 5.3 percent, to $67.43. Starwood and Marriott would become the biggest hotel chain in the world, and competing hotel companies also fell. Hilton shed 50 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $22.02.
REGENERATING: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals jumped after an eczema drug it is developing with Sanofi met its goals in a late-stage clinical trial. The stock surged $48.28, or 13.4 percent, to $408.72, leading a recovery in drugmaking stocks. Biotechnology companies including Amgen and Gilead Sciences also traded higher.
GOING SOUR: Smartphone maker BlackBerry reported disappointing quarterly results, with sales that fell far short of estimates. Its stock gave up 62 cents, or 7.7 percent, to $7.47.
LOSING ALTITUDE: Airlines fell after an analyst warned that companies may slash their business travel. Michael Linenberg of Deutsche Bank said U.S. corporate profits are getting squeezed, and he downgraded Delta, United Continental, American Airlines and Hawaiian.
United Continental dipped $3.41, or 5.7 percent, to $56.45 and Delta fell $1.54, or 3.2 percent, to $47.14. American sank $1.46, or 3.6 percent, to $39.55.
METALS: Gold fell $12.10, or 1 percent, to $1,223.50 an ounce. Silver dropped 42 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $15.05 an ounce. Copper lost two cents to $2.16 a pound.
OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents, or 3 percent, to $1.40 a gallon. Heating oil slid 5 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $1.13 a gallon. Natural gas was little changed at $1.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.
OUTPERFORMING: Retailer Urban Outfitters disclosed strong sales at its older stores, and the stock added $1.03, or 3.1 percent, to $34.12. Urban Outfitters is the best-performing stock on the S&P 500 index this year, as its value has climbed 50 percent.
OVERSEAS: Stocks overseas tumbled. Germany’s DAX lost 1.7 percent and the CAC-40 in France tumbled 1.4 percent, and in Britain, the FTSE 100 lost 0.5 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 sank 3.6 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.3 percent. Asian markets were hit by weak economic reports from Japan. The nations’ big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.79 percent from 1.77 percent. The dollar fell to 111.76 yen from 112.53 yen, while the euro rose to $1.1389 from $1.1387.