Wall St. rallies as inflation fears ebb; Apple hits record high

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The three major U.S. stock indexes rose more than 1 percent on Friday after weaker-than-expected U.S. wage growth helped to calm investor fears about rising interest rates and inflation, though the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials still posted losses for the week.

Apple Inc AAPL.O provided the biggest boost as it jumped to a record high of $184.25 during the session after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc BRKa.N disclosed that it had raised its stake in the iPhone maker.

Apple shares ended Friday’s session up 3.9 percent at $183.83. The company’s stock surged to its greatest weekly percentage gain since October 2011.

At the market open, U.S. stocks had fallen after the Labor Department reported the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to near a 17-1/2-year low of 3.9 percent.

The S&P 500 bounced off its 200-day moving average, a technical level that indicates the long-term trend.

U.S. stocks climbed as the session progressed. Investors said that the low unemployment figure, which on its own might point to inflationary pressure on wages, was countered by April’s mere 0.1-percent rise in wages, which was below expectations.

“It’s a rather happy circumstance we find ourselves in,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia. “Everyone has a job who wants one, and we don’t have the negative piece of it, which is the inflation piece.”

Trader Michael Capolino shouts out a bid on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 332.36 points, or 1.39 percent, to 24,262.51, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 33.69 points, or 1.28 percent, to 2,663.42 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 121.47 points, or 1.71 percent, to 7,209.62.

For the week, the Dow lost 0.2 percent and the S&P fell 0.24 percent. It was the second straight week of losses for both indexes.

By contrast, the Nasdaq gained 1.26 percent on the strength of tech stocks' rally on Friday. The S&P 500 technology sector .SPLRCT rose 2.0 percent.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, and 29 of the 30 Dow members were in the black, with Chevron Corp CVX.N the lone exception.

Pandora Media Inc P.N shares jumped 19.8 percent after the music-streaming service provider reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Shares of CBS Corp CBS.N rose 9.1 percent after the media company topped revenue and profit estimates for the first quarter.

Fluor Corp FLR.N shares sank 22.4 percent, the most on the S&P, after the engineering and construction company posted a surprise quarterly loss due to issues with a gas-fired power project.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.00-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.77-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 94 new highs and 47 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.37 billion shares, compared to the 6.57 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Savio D’Souza in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Nick Zieminski and Susan Thomas