Stock Market Today: S&P 500 clinches record high as Meta's mega rally fuels bulls

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Stock Market Today: S&P 500 clinches record high as Meta's mega rally fuels bulls
Credit: © Reuters. -- The S&P 500, Dow closed at record levels Friday, as Meta's swashbuckling gains stoked bullish bets on big tech even as a blowout jobs report muddied the Federal Reserve rate-cut outlook.       

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the S&P 500 rose 1.3% to close a record high of 4,957.75, while the  Dow Jones Industrial Average 134 points, or 0.4%, to notch record high of 38,654.42, and the NASDAQ Composite climbed 1.7%.

Meta Platforms pays first-ever dividend as stellar quarterly results boosts tech; Apple sags on China iPhone weakness; Amazon shines

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META ) stock rose 20% as the tech giant declined its first dividend and rolled out additional $50 billion in share buybacks after quarterly profit at the Facebook parent tripled from a year earlier. 

The move to return a chunk of capital to shareholders could help expand Meta's base to dividend hunters, UBS said in a note. "The step up in capital returns [...] does open up META shares for incremental demand from dividend/income funds." Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN ) jumped more than 7% after its fourth-quarter results topped Wall Street estimates as cloud growth and strength in e-commerce bolstered performance. 

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ), meanwhile, cut losses to end the day just above the flatline after iPhone sales fell short of Wall Street estimates  following weakness in China  

China represents roughly 20% of iPhones sales, and is struggling to battle Huawei and geopolitical headwinds near-term, Wedbush said, though remained adamant that the company on optimism that users of older iPhone models in China are set to upgrade their phones.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC ), however, fell more than 2% after as the chipmaker is reportedly delaying construction of its semiconductor factory in Ohio amid market challenges and a slower than expected roll out of government grants to help build chip plants.

Blowout jobs report muddies rate-cut outlook

The U.S. economy added far more jobs than expected in January, with nonfarm payrolls in the world's largest economy rising by 353,000 last month, much more than the 187,000 jobs expected.

The strong hiring activity comes as the number of people that entered the job market, or the participation rate, unexpected fell, albeit slightly, pushing average hourly earnings, or wage growth, to 0.6% from 0.4% a month earlier, confounding economists expectations for a decline 0.3%. 

The stronger wage growth, which threatens to boost inflation, mudded the outlook for rate cuts with some economists now suggesting that a first rate cut could be delayed. 

"This morning’s report coupled with ongoing solid indications of consumer activity and uncertainty in terms of the disinflationary trend should be more than enough to justify higher for longer, potentially into the second half of the year," Stifel said in a note.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM ), Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) rise after impressing on earnings stage

Energy stocks were pushed higher by a rise in Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron after the duo reported better-than-expected quarterly results as higher production helped offset the hit from falling oil prices.  

(Peter Nurse, Oliver Gray contributed to this article.)

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