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Markets Take Cheer from Jobs Figures

Stocks jumped sharply Friday after a softer-than-expected April jobs report boosted hopes that the Federal Reserve could start cutting interest rates soon.

The Dow Jones Industrials popped 438.85 points, or 1.2%, to move into noon hour at 38,664.51.

The S&P 500 galloped 59.92 points, or 1.2%, to 5,123.80.

The NASDAQ zoomed 301.06 points, or 1.9%, to 16,142.02.

Strong quarterly reports from major Dow components contributed to Friday’s rally. Apple advanced 6.7% after it announced a $110-billion share repurchase and a top -and bottom-line beat. Biotech stock Amgen surged 12% after posting better-than-expected earnings and offering a positive update on an experimental obesity drug. Shares headed for their best day since 2009.

Friday’s non-farm payrolls report showed 175,000 jobs gained in April, below the 240,000 jobs expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The unemployment rate edged up to 3.9%, versus 3.8% in the prior month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage figures also came in less than expected — an encouraging sign for inflation.

With Friday’s moves all the major averages are headed to finish the week with gains. The Dow and NASDAQ have added 1.2% each, while the S&P is up 0.3%.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury jumped, lowering yields to 4.51% from Thursday’s 4.58%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices lost 61 cents $78.34 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices retreated $5.30 to $2,304.30.

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