The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that nonfarm payrolls rose by 288,000 in April, exceeding the 218,000 consensus forecast. February and March's numbers were revised up by a total of 36,000.
Additionally, private and manufacturing payrolls both exceeded expectations.
The unemployment rate was 6.3%, well under the expected 6.6%, but that was mostly because of an expected shrinking of the labor force.
But after a strong start that saw the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) hit an intraday high of 1891.33, attention turned to Ukraine.
At a White House news conference, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed dismay at Russia's rising aggression, with both threatening tougher sanctions.
The S&P finished 0.1% lower at 1881.14, with investors bidding up US Treasuries, gold, and silver instead.
LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) beat first-quarter revenue and earnings estimates after the close Thursday. However, its full-year revenue guidance was slightly below analysts' expectations, and the stock fell 8.4%. Most other social media stocks, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Yelp (NYSE:YELP), fell in sympathy.
Other names taking earnings-related hits on Friday included DaVita HealthCare (NYSE:DVA), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and Exelis (NYSE:XLS).
On the positive side, housing and materials stocks were strong today, some safety-oriented plays like utilities pulled back, and the Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) was in positive territory.
In deal news, British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) rejected Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) $106 billion bid, claiming it "substantially undervalued" the company.
Investment firm Ares Management LP (NYSE:ARES) began trading today following a significant downsizing of its initial public offering. Ares came public at $19 per share, finishing the day at $18.60.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
The US economic calendar is light on Monday, with just the April ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite and the US Markit PMI on tap.
Earnings season is slowing a bit, but we'll have plenty of reports to watch. Some of the bigger names issuing first-quarter numbers Monday include Pfizer, Sysco (NYSE:SYY), Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), and American International Group (NYSE:AIG).
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