NEW YORK: The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs on Friday on signs of progress towards more economic stimulus, while a closely watched jobs report confirmed the labor market was stabilizing.
Still, US employment growth rebounded less than expected in January and job losses in December were deeper than initially thought, strengthening the argument for additional relief money to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden's drive to enact a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill gained momentum on Friday with the US House of Representatives set to vote on a budget plan that would allow the passage of the legislation in coming weeks without Republican support.
"The market has priced in this Goldilocks scenario that we're going to get past COVID and we're all going to go back to normal," said Dennis Dick, proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC in Las Vegas.
Johnson & Johnson rose 2% after the drugmaker said it had asked US health regulators to authorize its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
A retail trading frenzy also appeared to fade after upending markets last week. Videogame retailer GameStop Corp's shares, which have shed more than 80% of their value this week, were up 1% at $60.77.
At 9:40 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 148.87 points, or 0.48%, to 31,204.73, the S&P 500 gained 14.20 points, or 0.37%, to 3,885.94 and the Nasdaq Composite increased 15.83 points, or 0.11%, to 13,793.57.