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Shares End Higher as Better-Than-Expected Job Numbers Ease Fears of Downturn, Fed Rate Hike

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Shares rose Friday, boosted by a stronger-than-expected reading on March payrolls that eased market fears of an economic downturn in the US and more monetary tightening from the Federal Reserve.

Data showed that the world’s biggest economy added more jobs than expected last month, recouping after a sharp miss in February while the unemployment rate was unchanged and the paces of gains in wages eased back.

All but one of the market’s 11 sectors gained on the day, with energy shares advancing nearly 1.7% as oil prices jumped. West Texas Intermediate, the main US type, rose 1.9% to end at $63.29 a barrel while international benchmark Brent gained 1.5% to close at $70.44.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) led oil stocks higher, closing up 6.2%, while Apache (APA) advanced 6.6%. EOG Resources (EOG) gained 5.3% and Anadarko Petroleum (APC) ended 4.3% higher.

Utilities shares rose more than 0.8% as Duke Energy (DUK) gained 1.3% and PPL (PPL) rose 1.5%.

Materials was the only losing sector, edging down less than 1%, dragged down by blue-chip Dow (DOW), which lost 4.1% after JPMorgan initiated coverage with an underweight rating and $49 price target.

Boston Beer lost (SAM) 5.2%.after the brewer’s rating and price target was cut by Goldman Sachs. Retailers Kohls (KSS) lost 2% while Macy’s (M) fell 1.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day up 0.1% to close out the week up 1.9%. The S&P 500 rose more than 0.4% to end the five-day period up almost 5.5% while the Nasdaq Composite finished almost 0.6% higher to finish the week 2.7% higher.

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