U.S. Stocks Rise as Companies That Pay Big Dividends Surge

NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stocks rose Friday after the Labor Department said hiring remained solid in July and strong quarterly earnings continued to boost the market.

U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs last month, fewer than analysts expected. But the Labor Department said more jobs were added in May and June than it previously reported. That made up for the shortfall in July.

There was little reaction to China’s threat to put tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. Larger multinational companies climbed while smaller, U.S.-focused companies lagged the rest of the market. That’s the opposite of what generally happens when investors are worried about trade tensions.

Bond prices edged higher, sending yields lower. Food companies and other big-dividend stocks rose.

The S&P 500 index rose 13.13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,840.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 136.42 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,462.58. The Nasdaq composite rose 9.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,812.01. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 8.73 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,673.37.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose for the fifth week in a row. Some of those gains have been small, but that’s the longest winning streak for the index this year.

The slightly weak jobs report reflected the bankruptcy of Toys R Us and job cuts in local governments, which dragged down the hiring totals.

Hourly wage growth remained modest in July, and inflation-adjusted wages are actually decreasing because inflation has gradually picked up.

Kraft Heinz climbed after the maker of Oscar Mayer meats and Jell-O pudding said improved sales in Europe and Asia helped offset weaker results from the U.S. and Canada. The New York Post also reported that Kraft has had talks with Campbell Soup about a possible deal.

The Post said Kraft hasn’t made an offer. Kraft Heinz gained 8.6 percent to $64.48 and Campbell rose 2.5 percent to $42.76.

Cereal maker Post Holdings climbed 8 percent to $93.58 after reporting quarterly revenue that was higher than analysts expected. The company also said the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is investing in its private brands division, 8th Avenue Food & Provisions.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.95 percent from 2.98 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 0.7 percent to $68.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 0.3 percent to $73.21 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline slipped 0.1 percent to $2.07 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.2 percent to $2.13 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.3 percent to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Energy companies traded lower following some disappointing quarterly reports. Noble Energy sank 7.9 percent to $32.89 and EOG Resources fell 2.8 percent to $122.41. Energy stocks have lagged the rest of the market in recent weeks after making big gains earlier this year.

Gold picked up 0.3 percent to $1,223.20 an ounce. Silver added 0.5 percent to $15.46 an ounce. Copper gained 0.9 percent to $2.76 a pound.

The dollar weakened slightly. It fell to 111.23 yen from 111.69 yen. The euro fell to $1.1578 from $1.1587.