Following the sell-off seen late in the previous session, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Friday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing moderately higher.
A late move to the upside helped the major averages finish the day in positive territory. The Dow advanced 139.92 points or 0.4 percent to 34,818.27, the Nasdaq rose 40.98 points or 0.3 percent to 14,261.50 and the S&P 500 climbed 15.45 points or 0.3 percent to 4,545.86.
For the week, the Dow edged down by 0.1 percent, while the S&P 500 inched up by 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq advanced by 0.7 percent.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the outlook for the markets after the major averages experienced their first negative quarter since the first quarter of 2020.
For the first three months of 2022, the Nasdaq plummeted by 9.1 percent and the S&P 500 and Dow dove by 4.9 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, although the major averages regained some ground in March.
Traders were also digesting the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report, which showed employment increased by less than expected in March but the unemployment rate still fell to a new pandemic-era low.
The report showed non-farm payroll employment jumped by 431,000 jobs in March after surging by an upwardly revised 750,000 jobs in February.
Economists had expected employment to spike by 490,000 jobs compared to the addition of 678,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
While the job growth in March fell short of estimates, revisions to data for the two previous months showed employment increased by 95,000 more jobs than previously reported.
The strong job growth still contributed to a drop in the unemployment rate, which dipped to 3.6 percent in March from 3.8 percent in February. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 3.7 percent.
With the bigger than expected decrease, the…
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