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Wall Street gains on US jobs data release

United States stocks closed higher in volatile trade to snap a four-session losing streak as investors wrestled with a mixed jobs report and comments from Federal Reserve officials on the pace of interest rate hikes.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each rose as much as 2.0 per cent in the early stages of trading on Friday while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed as much as 1.9 per cent on the heels of the closely watched labour market report, before paring gains and briefly falling into negative territory.

The report showed an uptick in the unemployment rate in October, indicating some signs of slack may finally be starting to emerge in the job market and give the Fed room to downsize its rate hikes beginning in December.

But the data also showed average hourly earnings rose slightly more than expected, as did job growth, pointing to a labour market that largely remains on firm footing.

Labour market data has been a primary focus for markets as the Fed has repeatedly stated it is looking for some cooling before considering a pause in hikes.

Hawkish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday increased worries the central bank could keep boosting interest rates for longer than previously expected and put further pressure on stocks.

"This was not a report that shows the rate hikes are starting to take hold," said Shawn Cruz, head trading strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

"You could maybe justify some of this move as this selling got a little overdone after what Powell said at the meeting, so maybe you already had the sellers flushed out."

On Friday, Fed officials echoed Powell's comments about potentially decreasing the size of rate hikes in the future but needing to continue to raise rates for a longer period of time and potentially above the 4.6 per cent level the central bank penciled in at its September meeting.

Equities got a boost late in the session after Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said it was possible for the Fed to be "thinking" about pausing even if it's a year from now.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 401.97 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 32,403.22, the S&P 500 gained 50.66 points, or 1.36 per cent, to 3,770.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 132.31 points, or 1.28 per cent, to 10,475.25.

For the week, the Dow fell 1.39 per cent to snap a four-week winning streak, the S&P dropped 3.34 per cent and the Nasdaq slid 5.65 per cent for its biggest weekly percentage decline since January.

The non-farm payrolls report comes after a conflicting set of data that pointed to a slowdown in certain parts of the economy but also underscored the resilience of the US labour market despite aggressive rate hikes to tame inflation.

Traders' expectations of a 75 basis point rate hike in December had briefly jumped after the jobs report but were now pricing in about a 62 per cent chance of a 50 basis point hike, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

Market focus will now turn to a key consumer inflation reading due next week as well as the US midterm elections on Tuesday, where control of Congress is at stake.

Meanwhile, hopes of an easing in China's tough COVID-19 curbs supported some areas of the market, with US-listed shares of Chinese companies including Alibaba, which finished up 7.05 per cent and JD.com, up 9.74 per cent.

Those hopes also helped boost prices of commodities such as copper, which in turn lifted the materials sector 3.41 per cent as the best performing of the 11 major S&P sectors.

Starbucks Corp jumped 8.48 per cent after it topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly comparable sales and profit, while DoorDash Inc's revenue beat boosted the food delivery firm's shares by 8.32 per cent.

Volume on US exchanges was 13.31 billion shares, compared with the 11.74 billion average for the full session over the past 20 trading days.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.41-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 27 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 278 new lows.