NEW YORK - U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, and for the week, as traders pondered a monthly jobs report that coupled a welcome jump in hiring and an unwelcome decline in wages.
The Labor Department reported that U.S. employers added more jobs last month than economists had expected, while average hourly pay fell by 0.1 percent from January, the first drop since late 2014.
The mixed news in the report mirrors varied signals on the health of the U.S. economy, which is an ongoing factor in stock market volatility, said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "One day you see number, and you think, 'wow we are really recovering', and another day, it's 'we are in trouble,' and today's trade is really reflecting that."
After an early fall, benchmarks reversed course. The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 63 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,006.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,999. The Nasdaq composite gained 1o points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,717. The Dow and S&P 500 both notched gains over 2.2 percent for the week, the third straight weekly increase.
Among individual stocks, H&R Block (HRB) fell hard after releasing results that fell short of analysts' estimates. Block closed down for the day by 15.6 percent, or $5.14, to $27.76.
Energy costs rose, with crude-oil futures up $1.69 cents, or 4.8 percent, at $36.24 a barrel in late-day trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Bond prices fell, lifting he yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to nearly 1.9 percent.