Wall Street extended gains on Friday, with the S&P 500 coming within a hair’s breadth of its record high, following robust nonfarm payrolls data and as banks gained on expectations of simpler regulations.
The U.S. Labor Department said 227,000 jobs were created in the public and private sectors in January, far higher than the 175,000 economists had expected, as construction firms and retailers ramped up hiring.
Unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent, still below the 5 percent level considered to be full employment. However, average hourly wages grew by only three cents or 0.1 percent.
“Continued strong job creation is tempered by the renewed sluggishness in wage growth, raising questions once again about the extent to which the functioning of the labor market has evolved,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz in Newport Beach, California.
“The sluggish wage growth will make the Fed more cautious about hiking in March.”
Bank stocks rose as Trump prepared to sign orders to scale back the Dodd-Frank reform law, enacted in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
The S&P 500 financial sector .SPSY, already the best-performing index since Trump’s election, was up 1.76 percent and was set for its best day since Nov. 14. The sharp rise was powered by bets that Trump would usher in an era of simpler regulations.
“I like the rollback of Dodd-Frank,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York. “It’s a net-net win for the overall financial market because these rules and regulations have meant a big increase in costs for major banks and brokerage firms.”
Citigroup (C.N), Bank of America (BAC.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and JPMorgan (JPM.N) were up between 2 percent and 3.6 percent.
At 10:54 a.m. ET (1554 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 159.45 points, or 0.8 percent, at 20,044.36.
The S&P 500 .SPX was up 14.75 points, or 0.64 percent, at 2,295.6, just five points short of its all-time high.