Stocks Advance, Head Toward Weekly Win as Slower Job Growth 'Increases Pressure' for Fiscal Stimulus Deal

12:30PM ET 12/04/2020 MT Newswires
Stocks advanced Friday and appeared set to solidify gains for the week after a slowdown in US job creation stoked expectations that lawmakers will reach a long-awaited deal for more financial aid to address the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was looking at a new record-high close and the Dow Jones Industrial Average regained the 30,000 level. The Nasdaq Composite was up as well, poised to pace weekly advances for all three indexes with a gain of nearly 2%.

Investors continued to bid up equities after the Labor Department early Friday said nonfarm payrolls rose by 245,000 in November, slower than October's revised pace of 610,000 jobs. The result was also below the Econoday consensus of 500,000. The data arrived as the US has been logging record-high daily new coronavirus cases.

"The new wave of infections and the associated restrictions are weighing on the US economy," said Commerzbank economist Christoph Balz in a note Friday.

The government data arrived during a time of growing bipartisan support for a $908 billion stimulus package being discussed by Congressional leaders. "The report increases the pressure on fiscal and monetary policy to increase the stimulus," said Balz. "We also believe it is likely that the Fed will soon increase the volume of its bond purchases."

Nine of the S&P 500's 11 industry sectors were higher. The energy group jumped 4.6% after OPEC and its allies agreed to gradually raise oil production, suggesting the industry sees the market strengthening following demand destruction caused by the pandemic. Output will be raised by 500,000 barrels a day next month. Exxon Mobil (XOM) gained 3.3% and ConocoPhillips (COP) climbed 6.5%.

Oil producer Chevron (CVX) rose 3.6% on the Dow, with nearly 20 of 30 shares on that gauge moving up.

Among corporate movers, DocuSign (DOCU) advanced 4.7% following better-than-expected earnings and revenue from the electronic signature company for its fiscal third quarter.

Marvell Technology (MRVL) fell 5.6% after a mixed financial report from the semiconductor company, with earnings meeting and revenue narrowly missing expectations.

Li Auto (LI) fell 3.7%, under pressure after the electric vehicle maker priced an underwritten follow-on offering of 47 million American depositary shares at $29 each. The price was about 10% lower than Thursday's closing price above $32.

In afternoon trading, the Dow rose 0.6%, the S&P 500 gained 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite picked up 0.3%.