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Solid jobs report, earnings push stocks broadly higher

An American flag hangs above the bell podium

An American flag hangs above the bell podium on the floor of the NYSE on May 17, 2018. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

A solid jobs report and company earnings spurred U.S. stocks broadly higher Friday, driving the S&P 500 to its second straight weekly gain.

The Nasdaq composite hit an all-time high for the second time this week. The benchmark S&P 500 index closed less than 0.1 percent below the record high it reached on Tuesday.

Technology and consumer-focused companies did the most to push the market higher. Stocks in the communications, industrial, financial and health care sectors also notched solid gains as traders cheered surprisingly good earnings from United States Steel, Weight Watchers and other companies.

Investors also welcomed the government's latest snapshot of U.S. employment, which showed that job growth surged in April past economists' forecasts and unemployment fell to a five-decade low.

"Overall, this was a solid report that should assuage fears that the U.S. economy is losing momentum," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

The S&P 500 index gained  1 percent, to 2,945.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 197.16 points, or 0.7 percent, to 26,504.95. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.6 percent, to 8,164.

Small-company stocks rose much more than the rest of the market, a bullish sign indicating that investors are more willing to take on risk. The Russell 2000 index picked up 2 percent, to 1,614.02. -- AP

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