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Stocks surge Friday, led by tech and fueled by jobs

By Krystal Hur, CNN

New York (CNN) — US stocks rose on Friday as investors continued to parse strong tech earnings and a searing jobs report.

The Dow rose 135 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 gained 1.1% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.7%. All three major indexes ended the week higher.

The US economy added a staggering 353,000 jobs in January, blowing past economists’ expectations of 176,500 jobs last month, according to fresh data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday morning.

Some investors say that the labor market’s continued show of resilience confirms that an interest rate cut is off the table in March. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell had signaled as much on Wednesday, after the central bank held rates steady at a 23-year high.

“Clearly, May 1st is the earliest month that the Fed will commence cutting key interest rates. Then hopefully the Fed will have additional key interest rate cuts at its meetings in June, July and September,” wrote Louis Navellier, chairman of Navellier & Associates, in a note Friday.

Traders see a roughly 21% expectation of a rate cut in March, down from 46% last week, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Tech stocks were the winners of Friday’s session, following strong earnings reports from Meta Platforms and Amazon the prior evening.

Meta Platforms shares jumped 20.3% to close at a record high of $474.99 after the company reported a surge in profit, its first-ever cash dividend and a $50 billion share buyback.

Amazon shares rose 7.9% after the e-commerce giant reported solid earnings for its latest quarter.

Other tech stocks also saw a boost. Shares of Nvidia popped roughly 5% to a record-high close of $661.57. Meta and Nvidia both also logged new all-time highs during the middle of the session.

Microsoft shares rose 1.8% to a fresh record-high close of $411.22.

Stocks’ gains weren’t even across the market. The equal-weighted S&P 500 index, which gives each stock the same influence over its performance, fell 0.8% on Friday.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of US small-cap stocks, declined 0.5%.

Next week, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen is set to testify before the Senate Banking Committee, in the aftermath of the regional banking crisis last year.

Investors will also be watching for clues about the health of the US financial system, after a surprise $252 million loss in fourth-quarter profits from New York Community Bancorp thrust regional banks back into focus.

As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might change slightly.

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