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02/02/24 Briefing

Stocks closed the week with a warm embrace Friday after a thunderous January jobs report and a triumphant series of market-moving earnings.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 1.1%, reaching a record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) climbed 0.4% or more than 100 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) gained 1.7%.

A momentous week boosted investor sentiment. As Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer reports, Friday's highlight was the jobs report, which blew past Wall Street expectations as the economy added 353,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%.

The labor market has remained resilient in the face of a rate-hiking campaign from the Federal Reserve, but other data this week had shown signs of softening. Friday's jobs report could once again shift expectations on the Fed's rate path, especially as Fed Chair Jerome Powell suggested that a strong labor market is actually a good sign. Investor bets now place a high probability that the first rate cut from the central bank won't arrive until May.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were still basking in the glow of strong earnings reports from tech giants Amazon (AMZN) and Meta (META) on Thursday. As Yahoo Finance's Hamza Shaban writes, they delivered the goods where Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG) had fallen short earlier in the week. Meta surged more than 20%, while Amazon popped near 8%.

Apple (AAPL) also looks to have disappointed, despite an earnings beat, following warning signs from its China business. Apple fell 0.5% at the closing bell.

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