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Wall Street climbs as investors cheer upbeat Apple earnings

Stocks closed sharply higher on Friday, with shares of Apple rallying after upbeat results, while US jobs data pointed to a resilient labor market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 546.64 points, or 1.7%, to 33,674.38, its largest one-day percentage gain since Jan. 6. The Nasdaq climbed 2.3%, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.9%.

But for the week, the Dow dropped 1.2%.

Apple gained 4.7% on better-than-expected results, helped by strong iPhone sales and notable inroads in India and other newer markets.

Investors appeared to take in stride data showing employers boosted hiring in April while raising wages, pointing to sustained labor market strength that could prompt the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for some time.

The Labor Department’s report showed non-farm payrolls increased by 253,000 last month, higher than economists’ expectations of 180,000.

Wages increased 4.4% year-on-year in April after climbing 4.3% in March, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%.

With the jobs report, “it’s about the state of the US economy, and what we saw today suggests it’s in a better position than previously expected,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market Strategist at Invesco in New York.

Investors appeared to take in stride data showing employers boosted hiring in April while raising wages.

Investors have been worried that the rate hikes may eventually push the economy into recession.

Traders are betting the Fed will start easing the policy rate by September, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, compared with July before the release of the jobs data.

The Fed raised its interest rate by 25 basis points as expected on Wednesday, but Chair Jerome Powell noted it was too early to say with certainty that the rate-hike cycle was over as inflation remains the chief concern.

Wall Street fell on Thursday after PacWest Bancorp’s move to explore strategic options deepened concerns about the health of regional banks, pulling down shares of peers and big banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

PacWest rebounded on Friday with a whopping 82% gain, while Western Alliance Bancorp bounced back 49%. Western Alliance on Thursday denied a report that it was exploring a potential sale.

Following upbeat results from megacap companies, analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies in the first quarter to decline 0.9% from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv data, compared with a 5.1% drop expected at the start of April.

Used-car retailer Carvana jumped 24% as it expects to post a profit in the current quarter and plans to further bring down excess used-car inventory.

Lyft slumped 19% as the ride-hailing company’s strategy to claw back market share from rival Uber Technologies with lower fares stoked concerns about a hit to its profit margins.

This story originally appeared on NYPost

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