S&P, Nasdaq post best weekly gains in three months

Bad news in the labor market was good news for Wall Street. It helped propel the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to record highs Friday. The two indexes posted their biggest weekly gains since early November.

The weaker-than-expected jobs report for January highlighted the need for more government aid to shore up the economy. President Joe Biden’s drive to deliver that aid in the form of a $1.9 trillion relief bill gained momentum Friday after the House of Representatives approved a budget plan that would allow the legislation to pass without Republican support.

Sanders Morris Harris CEO George Ball:

“The stimulus is surely on the brink of being delivered and in a large number whether it’s a compromised number or a consensus number, it’s going to be a large immediate impact, and people are going to read that as a near term bull signal, and they’re reading that correctly.”

The Nasdaq closed a half percent higher Friday. The S&P rose 0.4%. The Dow tacked on 0.3%.

Johnson & Johnson helped lift the blue chip index. The drug maker said it asked U.S. regulators to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

Shares of GameStop ended 19% higher after online broker Robinhood lifted all buying curbs it imposed at the height of the trading frenzy over social media-driven stocks.

Strong demand for “Call of Duty” from gamers staying at home drove Activision Blizzard’s full-year adjusted revenue above Wall Street’s targets. The game developer’s shares shot up almost 10%.