November 1, 2019 / 6:29 PM / 19 days ago

US STOCKS-Jobs data, trade progress boost S&P, Nasdaq to records

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* U.S. jobs growth in October slows less than expected

* Exxon rises after profit beat

* Dow up 0.92%, S&P 500 up 0.81%, Nasdaq up 0.88% (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed on Friday as the S&P hit an intraday record for the fourth time this week after an upbeat U.S. jobs report and data on Chinese manufacturing lessened concerns about slowing global growth.

Job growth slowed less than forecast in October, as a drag from a strike at General Motors was made up for in other areas of the labor market, while job gains in the prior two months were stronger than previously thought.

“It’s really good. The market should like it because obviously with the GM strike, manufacturing being affected by that, it is a very nice report and one people should be pretty excited about overall,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

The strong jobs number helped overshadow a report that showed the manufacturing sector contracted for a third straight month.

Along with the S&P’s new high, the Nasdaq topped its July intraday record after both indexes closed out October with their best monthly performance since June as quarterly earnings have come in stronger than anticipated and U.S.-China trade rhetoric has appeared productive.

Prior to the jobs report, sentiment was supported by data showing China manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in October, easing concerns about a slowdown in demand from the world’s second-largest economy as a result of U.S. tariffs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 250.48 points, or 0.93%, to 27,296.71, the S&P 500 gained 24.68 points, or 0.81%, to 3,062.24 and the Nasdaq Composite added 73.29 points, or 0.88%, to 8,365.65.

U.S.-China trade news remained supportive for stocks, as Beijing’s state-media Xinhua News Agency reported the two countries have “reached consensus on principles.” Earlier, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the “phase one” trade pact with China appeared in good shape.

About 76% of the 356 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have beaten profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

However, profit growth forecasts for the next four quarters have been revised lower, even as expectations for a decline in third-quarter earnings have shrunk to 0.8% from 2.2% at the start of October.

Oil major Exxon Mobil Corp rose 2.70% after it beat recently lowered third-quarter profit expectations. The energy sector gained 2.29% as the best-performing S&P sector, and oil prices jumped on trade deal progress.

Qorvo Inc jumped 19.71% after the Apple supplier announced a $1 billion share buy-back plan and forecast third-quarter revenue above expectations.

But Pinterest Inc plunged 16.39% after the online scrapbook company missed quarterly revenue estimates.

Arista Networks Inc slumped 24.80% after the cloud infrastructure supplier forecast current-quarter revenue much below Wall Street expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.53-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.00-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 41 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 99 new highs and 31 new lows. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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