Apple leads Wall Street rally after choppy start on jobs report

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(Reuters) – Apple and other technology shares led a rally on Wall Street on Friday morning, helping it shrug off a choppy start following the April jobs report.

Trader Michael Capolino shouts out a bid on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Apple (AAPL.O) jumped 3.8 percent to a record high of $183.65 after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) raised its stake in the iPhone maker.

The technology sector .SPLRCT was up 1.47 percent, giving the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

The markets were off to a choppy start after data showed the U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in April, but missed expectations, while the unemployment rate dropped to near a 17-1/2-year low of 3.9 percent.

However, the Labor Department’s closely watched report showed wage growth of only 0.1 percent, also coming in below estimates, easing concerns that inflation pressures were increasing.

“It’s kind of a muted reaction in general to that piece of economic data,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in Boston.

“The amount of the headline miss that we saw was made up in last month’s revision — so if we missed by 30,000 we revised last month up by 30,000. And earnings went up just a bit, so there’s no pressure of wage prices from the data.”

After choppy futures trading following the payroll numbers, the market opened lower, before reversing course. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 bounced off their 200-day moving averages, a technical level that indicates long-term momentum.

At 11:29 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 245.29 points, or 1.03 percent, at 24,175.44, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 23.39 points, or 0.89 percent, at 2,653.12 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 91.39 points, or 1.29 percent, at 7,179.54.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with only the energy index .SPNY posting a loss of 0.08 percent.

After a two-day meeting in Beijing, China and the United States reached a consensus on some aspects of their trade row, though some “relatively big” disagreements on other issues remained, China said.

Among stocks, Fluor Corp (FLR.N) sank 21.2 percent, the most on the S&P, after the engineering and construction company posted a surprise quarterly loss due to issues with a gas-fired power project.

Pandora Media (P.N) jumped 24.2 percent after the music streaming service provider reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.41-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq and for a 2.67-to-1 ratio on the NYSE.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 59 new highs and 36 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Savio D’Souza in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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