US stock indexes have jumped, with the Nasdaq Composite less than 1.0 per cent away from a record high, after a closely watched report showed surprise job additions in May, lending weight to hopes of a faster economic rebound from a coronavirus-led slump.
Data from the Labor Department showed non-farm payrolls rose by 2.509 million jobs last month after a record plunge of 20.687 million in April, and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 13.3 per cent in May from 14.7 per cent in April.
“It’s shocking, it’s a refreshing thing to experience, a very positive and a far better-than-expected report,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
“The unemployment rate was likely to peak in May and then get better from there, but it looks as though it might have peaked in April, which is a very positive development for the economy.”
The S&P 500 banks sub-index, considered interest-rate sensitive, jumped 4.8 per cent as US Treasury yields rose after the data.
Boeing Co gained 9.2 per cent, the biggest boost to the Dow Jones index, on hopes of a pick-up in air travel a day after American Airlines Group Inc and United Airlines said they would boost their US flight schedule next month.
The NYSE ARCA Airline index also jumped 12.9 per cent.
Wall Street has rebounded sharply from a coronavirus-driven crash in March as investors bet on a revival in business activity following the easing of a country-wide lockdown.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes are now down about 6.0 per cent and 9.0 per cent respectively from their all-time highs.
In early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 684.41 points, or 2.60 per cent, at 26,966.23, the S&P 500 was up 66.68 points, or 2.14 per cent, at 3,179.03 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 157.01 points, or 1.63 per cent, at 9,772.83.
Fears of more disruptions from social unrest have also eased in the past two days, with the largely peaceful protests against the killing of a black man in police custody waning into Friday morning and emergency curfews in many cities being lifted.
Vaccine maker Novavax Inc jumped 7.2 per cent after saying it would receive up to $US60 million ($A86 million) from the US Department of Defense to fund manufacturing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Apparel retailer Gap Inc fell 4.5 per cent as it reported a quarterly loss of nearly $US1 billion due to coronavirus-induced store closures.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 8.81-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 4.91-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 18 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and no new low.