NEW YORK – Stocks ended with a surge Friday after traders decided that a healthy job market mattered more than the Federal Reserve scaling back its economic stimulus.
After the government reported strong hiring for June, traders and investors struggled over how to react. At first, they pushed stocks higher because the report was better than expected. Then they pushed stocks lower because improved hiring last month made it more likely the Federal Reserve could ease back on its bond buying.
After waffling early, investors and traders finally settled on an optimistic outlook. The Standard & Poor’s 500 had its strongest performance in three weeks.
“In general, I think our economy is standing on its own two feet right now,” said David Brown, chief market strategist at Sabrient, a Santa Barbara, Calif., research firm for institutional investors.
U.S. stock indexes shot higher when the market opened, fueled by the Labor Department’s report that the U.S. economy added a stronger-than-expected 195,000 jobs last month. But the gains tapered off within the hour, and all the major indexes dipped briefly into the red.
By the end of the day, the three main U.S. indexes had more than recovered, each ending about 1 percent higher.
As investors bought stocks, they sold bonds Friday, another sign that they think the Fed will tamp down its bond buying. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped dramatically to 2.73 percent from late Wednesday’s level of 2.51 percent. That was the highest yield for the 10-year note since August 2011.
Relatively few shares changed hands Friday because many traders were still on vacation after the Fourth of July holiday Thursday. Light volume may have contributed to the market’s early volatility. The market can be moved by changes in even a relatively small numbers of shares.
The price of oil rose $1.98, or 2 percent, to $103.22 a barrel in New York.