Stocks were moving higher in morning trading on Friday, despite the fact that Wall Street got a dismal jobs report for January that showed the U.S. economy remaining in dire straits due to the pandemic.
Investors continue to hope that more help for the economy is on the way from Washington. Overnight the Senate narrowly passed a measure that will fast-track aid.
The S&P 500 index was up 0.4% as of 10:50 a.m. Eastern. It’s on track for a weekly gain of more than 4%, which would be its biggest since November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%.
The Department of Labor said that employers added only 49,000 jobs in the month of January, far below economists’ forecasts. The disappointing report came as much of the country remains saturated with coronavirus cases, which caused some jurisdictions like California or New York to partially shut down again last month. A report on Thursday showed the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits remained well above historic norms.
But investors seem to be focused more on the prospects for more stimulus. President Joe Biden urged Democrats lawmakers this week to “act fast” on his economic stimulus plan. Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on support for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, but it appears Senate Democrats will be using their new-found majority to push the measure through without Republican support.
“There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic and, obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of stimulus in the system with talks of more,” Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network.
Meanwhile companies that online investors have clambered to over the past few weeks continued to trade with heavy volatility. GameStop jumped 37% to $73. Trading was halted several times because of volatility, as has become common in recent days for the stock. GameStop’s share price is far below the high of $483 it reached last week but still well above the $17 it traded at near the beginning of the year. AMC Entertainment rose 7%.