A Modest Gain for Stocks Keeps A 4-Day Winning Streak Alive 


Stocks wobbled to the finish Friday but salvaged a four-day winning streak after the U.S. government said employers added more jobs than expected in February. That was another vote of confidence in the economy. Mining companies made the biggest gains as metals prices climbed.

The jobs report showed that construction, retail and health-care companies are still hiring more workers. Energy companies also rose with the recovering price of oil. Stocks fell back from an afternoon peak as investors sold telecommunications companies, which have been the best-performing sector of the market this year.

The& Dow& Jones industrial average rose 62.87 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,006.77. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6.59 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,999.99. The Nasdaq composite index edged up 9.60 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,717.02.

The Labor Department said employers added 242,000 jobs last month. Consumer demand was solid, and the government also said employers hired more people in December and January than it had previously estimated. More people also looked for work.

Metals and energy prices kept climbing on the continued signs of life for the economy. Gold, which is trading at its highest price in a year, rose $12.50, or 1 percent, to $1,270.70 an ounce. Silver jumped 55 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $15.69 an ounce and copper rose 7 cents, or 3 percent, to $2.27 a pound.

The price of U.S. oil jumped $1.35, or 3.9 percent, to $35.92 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose $1.65, or 4.5 percent, to $38.72 a barrel in London.

Oil prices climbed about 10 percent this week and have risen for three weeks in a row, which hadn’t happened since May. Brent crude is now higher than it was at the beginning of the year, although U.S. crude is still lower.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.87 percent from 1.84 percent late Thursday.

A handful of companies rose and fell as quarterly earnings kept trickling out. Hewlett Packard Enterprise reported better-than-expected results from its first quarter as a publicly-traded company. Its stock surged $1.84, or 13.5 percent, to $15.44.

Handgun maker Smith & Wesson rose $1.65, or 6.5 percent, to $27.05, after its profit and sales surpassed Wall Street estimates. Smith & Wesson also raised its profit and sales projections for its current fiscal year.

Tax preparer H&R Block tumbled after its quarterly profit and revenue disappointed investors. The company said people are filing their taxes later and refunds are taking longer to process as efforts to fight tax fraud increase. The stock dropped $5.14, or 15.6 percent, to $27.76.

Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.9 percent. Germany’s DAX was up 0.7 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.3 percent higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.33 a gallon. Heating oil climbed 4 cents to $1.16 a gallon. Natural gas picked up 3 cents to $1.67 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The euro rose to $1.0996 from $1.0959 the day before while the dollar rose to 114.21 yen from 113.57 yen.