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04/05/24 Briefing

US stocks surged on Friday as upbeat earnings from Apple (AAPL) lifted spirits and a weaker-than-expected jobs report revived bets that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates sooner than thought.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) jumped 1.2%, or about 450 points, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 1.3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) increased 2%.

The April jobs report painted a picture of a cooling US labor market as employers added 175,000 jobs and the unemployment rate unexpectedly jumped to 3.9%. Economists had expected an addition of 240,000 jobs.

The report pushed up bets on a sooner-than-expected rate cut from the Fed. According to the CME FedWatch tool, traders see a roughly two-thirds chance of a rate cut in September.

Meanwhile, Apple was the star of the corporates Friday as its quarterly profit beat expectations and it surprised investors with better revenue out of China than estimated in the face of reports of flagging iPhone sales.

While CEO Tim Cook talked up Apple's plans for AI development — a key focusthis earnings season — it was the company's plans for a $110 billion stock buyback, the biggest in US history, that captured the market's attention. Apple shares rose 6% in afternoon trading, buoying the Dow.

The blue-chip index is also seeing a boost from heavyweight Amgen (AMGN), whose shares soared almost 12% after comments by its CEO suggested its obesity drug could take on market leaders from Novo Nordisk (NVO).

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