Wall St. rallies; S&P 500 posts best day since August

October 3
8:26 PM 2014

The S&P 500 posted its best day since August on Friday following a stronger-than-expected September U.S. jobs report that bolstered the outlook for the U.S. economy.

Despite the rally, however, major indexes ended down for the week, with the first diagnosis of Ebola in a patient in the United States and protests in Hong Kong among the main catalysts for sharp selling earlier in the week.

The Labor Department reported that U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 248,000 last month and the jobless rate fell two-tenths of a point to 5.9 percent.   

"There were a number of fears in the market, and the market had been giving up a lot of its gains. I think the jobs report took away a lot of the near-term concerns about the pace of the U.S. economy's (growth)," said Robbert Van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge USA LLC in New York.

A Reuters survey on Friday showed most of Wall Street's top bond firms still see the Federal Reserve starting to raise interest rates no later than June of next year.

All 10 S&P sectors ended in positive territory, though the S&P energy index .SPNY was the day's weakest and ended barely higher following further declines in oil prices CLc1 LCOc1. The energy index was down 3.8 percent for the week.

Financial and healthcare shares were among the day's biggest positives. The Dow Jones transportation average .DJT also rallied, ending up 2.1 percent, its biggest daily percentage gain since March, as airline stocks jumped. Shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) rose 4.7 percent to $36.95.

The Russell 2000 index .TOY rose 0.8 percent, but was down 1.3 percent for the week, its fifth straight week of losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 208.64 points, or 1.24 percent, to 17,009.69, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 21.73 points, or 1.12 percent, to 1,967.9 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 45.43 points, or 1.03 percent, to 4,475.62.

For the week, the Dow was down 0.6 percent, the S&P 500 was down 0.8 percent and theNasdaq was down 0.8 percent.

The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was Zendesk INC (ZEN.N), which rose 16.93 percent to $25.55, while the largest percentage decliner was Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF.N), down 16.80 percent at $8.32.

Among the most active stocks on the NYSE were Rite Aid (RAD.N), up 0.80 percent at $5.03 and Brazil's Petrobras (PBR.N), up 4.33 percent to $13.97.

On the Nasdaq, Apple (AAPL.O), down 0.3 percent to $99.62, and Yahoo (YHOO.O), up 1.3 percent at $41.03, were among the most actively traded.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,067 to 989, for a 2.09-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,776 issues rose and 895 fell for a 1.98-to-1 ratio also favoring advancers.

The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 14 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 54 new lows.

About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7 billion average for the last five sessions, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

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