Job gains send US stocks higher

NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

(Close): Wall Street markets closed the week on an upbeat note, after a strong US jobs report pointed to further economic growth ahead.

Energy stocks also bounced back as the price of oil stabilised after falling sharply earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 55.47 points to 20,006.94 and the wider S&P 500 index rose 9.77 points to 2,399.29.

The Nasdaq index also increased, closing up 25.42 points at 6,100.76.

The US Department of Labour reported that US employers added 211,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.4% from 4.5% in March.

Some car companies and other retailers have been reporting weak sales figures.

However the jobs numbers were welcomed by the market as a sign that consumer spending, the mainstay of the American economy, is unlikely to diminish.

GDP growth also slowed in the first three month of 2017, but the period is often subject to data distortions.

The Federal Reserve said earlier this week it believed any slowdown was temporary.

"The Fed has made clear it is going to look through some of the weak economic data that's been coming through as they believe the fundamentals of the economy are strong. This number is something of a vindication of that view," said Luke Bartholomew at Aberdeen Asset Management.

But retail's troubles have not disappeared.

Shares in the cosmetics company Revlon plunged more than 23% on Friday after the company reported a loss in the first three months of 2017, driven by sales declines in North America.