* U.S. economy adds 235,000 jobs in Feb vs estimated 190,000
* Unemployment rate edges down to 4.7 pct
* Hospital shares fall
* Indexes rise: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct
(Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, March 10 U.S. stocks rose on Friday
after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic
economy and supported expectations the Federal Reserve will
raise interest rates next week.
Indexes ended lower for the week, however, with the S&P 500
and Nasdaq breaking a six-week streak of gains.
Government data showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public
and private sectors in February, far exceeding economists'
average estimate of 190,000.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week the U.S. central
bank is set to raise rates this month if employment and other
economic data hold up. The Fed meets March 14-15.
With inflation edging up closer to the Fed's 2 percent
target, traders were pricing in a 92 percent chance of a rate
increase at the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting next
week, up from 85 percent before the data.
Gains were broad-based, though the utilities index
, which tends to underperform in a higher-rate
environment, was the day's best-performing sector, ending up 0.8
At the same time, the S&P financial index, which has
risen sharply on prospects of further rate hikes, ended flat,
and strategists said the market has likely already priced in a
March rate move.
"The strong (payrolls) number was a welcome surprise. It was
a confirmation labor markets are holding up," said Jeffrey
Kravetz, regional investment director at the Private Client
Reserve of U.S. Bank.
"The reaction is not huge because the market was expecting a
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 44.79
points, or 0.21 percent, at 20,902.98, the S&P 500 gained
7.73 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,372.6 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 22.92 points, or 0.39 percent, to
For the week, the Dow was down 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 was
down 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.2 percent.
Friday marked the 50th day of Donald Trump's U.S.
presidency. Since he took office, the Dow has broken above
21,000 and the S&P 500 has crossed $20 trillion in market value
on bets he would usher in tax cuts, simpler regulations and
higher infrastructure spending.
Still, the lack of detail on Trump's plans and other issues
have helped temper the post-election rally, along with
valuations that some consider lofty.
"In the short term we're a little bit cautious (in stocks)
because valuations are stretched. But as long as the economic
data keeps improving and without inflation being an issue, any
weakness becomes an opportunity to add (to equity longs)," said
Sameer Samana, global quantitative and technical strategist at
Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St Louis.
Shares of U.S. hospital operators fell a day after the
Republican plan backed by Trump to overhaul Obamacare cleared
its first hurdles in Congress.
While passage of the bill remains uncertain, some analysts
believe the bill will go through. Tenet Healthcare
shares fell 5.3 percent.
AbbVie rose 2.1 after Goldman Sachs issued an
upbeat report on the drugmaker.
Finisar Corp shares fell 22.7 percent after the
network equipment maker gave disappointing revenue and profit
forecasts for the current quarter.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
2.04-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.39-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 42 new 52-week highs and five new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 36 new lows.
About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges,
close to the 7.0 billion daily average for the past 20 trading
days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York and
Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith
Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)