Apple Results and Strong Jobs Data Lift Wall Street, Regional Banks Rally

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On Friday, Wall Street saw gains due to strong results from Apple and rebounding shares of regional banks. The stronger-than-expected jobs report also eased worries of an imminent economic downturn, adding to the positive momentum. Apple Inc. gained 4.7% on better-than-expected results, which were helped by strong iPhone sales and notable inroads in India and other newer markets, fuelling a 2.3% advance in technology stocks.

Regional banks also rallied with PacWest Bancorp rallying 83.3% and Western Alliance Bancorp jumping 39.7% at the end of a bruising week for regional lenders amid the collapse of First Republic Bank. The KBW regional index gained 4.4% after sharp losses earlier this week, while the S&P 500 Banks index was up 3.1%. 

The upbeat jobs data showed that U.S. job growth accelerated in April while wage gains increased solidly, pointing to sustained labor market strength that could compel the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for longer. Traders are betting the Fed will start easing the policy rate by September, according to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, compared with July before the release of the jobs data. 

The U.S. central bank raised its interest rate by 25 basis points as expected on Wednesday, but Chair Jerome Powell noted it was too early to say with certainty that the rate-hike cycle was over as inflation remains the chief concern. "This is a strong report and shows that the labor market is resilient. It bails out the Fed for raising another quarter point," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

Despite concerns about the health of regional banks, investors appeared to take the data in stride, leading to gains in the main indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 397.24 points, or 1.20%, at 33,524.98, the S&P 500 was up 57.76 points, or 1.42%, at 4,118.98, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 207.75 points, or 1.74%, at 12,174.15.

Other companies also saw gains and losses, with used-car retailer Carvana Co jumping 29.6% as it expects to post a profit in the current quarter and plans to further bring down excess used-car inventory. On the other hand, Lyft Inc slumped 21.1% as the ride-hailing company's strategy to claw back market share from rival Uber Technologies Inc with lower fares stoked concerns about a hit to its profit margins.

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