Stocks wobbled to the finish Friday but salvaged a four-day winning streak after the U.S. government said employers added more jobs than expected in February. That was another vote of confidence in the economy. Mining companies made the biggest gains as metal prices climbed.
The jobs report showed that construction, retail and health care companies are still hiring more workers. Energy companies also rose with the recovering price of oil. Stocks fell back from an afternoon peak as investors sold telecommunications companies, which have been the best performing sector of the market this year.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.87, or 0.37 percent, to 17,006.77.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6.59, or 0.33 percent, to 1,999.99.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 9.60, or 0.20 percent, to 4,717.02.
Stocks rose this week after reports on hiring, construction spending and manufacturing suggested that the U.S. economy is doing fairly well. Kate Warne, investment strategist for Edward Jones, said she expects continued job and economic growth.
“The worries that we’ve been hearing recently about the economy sliding into recession aren’t warranted,” she said.
Combined with low inflation rates, she said that’s good news for investors.
Metal and energy prices kept climbing on the continued signs of life for the economy. Gold, which is trading at its highest price in a year, rose $12.50, or 1 percent, to $1,270.70 an ounce. Silver jumped 55 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $15.69 an ounce. Copper rose 7 cents, or 3 percent, to $2.27 a pound.
The price of U.S. oil jumped $1.35, or 3.9 percent, to $35.92 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose $1.65, or 4.5 percent, to $38.72 a barrel in London.
Oil prices climbed about 10 percent this week and have risen for three weeks in a row, which hasn’t happened since May. Brent crude is now higher than it was at the beginning of the year, although U.S. crude is still lower.
The market has now erased most of its losses after a painful start to the year. But there are signs that investors are still worried: Investors keep buying utility and telecom stocks, which are considered safe bets when the market is troubled, and the price of gold has surged to its highest levels in more than a year. And while stocks have risen the last three days, the gains were small and came in choppy trading.