US stocks has extended their recent rally and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices scored their biggest weekly percentage gains since the US elections in early November, boosted by optimism over earnings, stimulus talks and progress on vaccine rollouts.
Both the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 on Friday rose for a fifth straight session in their longest streak of gains since August, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted record closing highs for a second day in a row.
A smaller-than-expected rebound in the US labour market last month highlighted the need for more government aid to shore up the economy. The Labor Department on Friday reported a 49,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls last month, but job losses in manufacturing and construction.
US President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress moved ahead with their $US1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as lawmakers approved a budget plan that will allow them to muscle Biden's plan through in the coming weeks without Republican support.
Upbeat earnings this week have also supported investor optimism. So far, stronger-than-expected corporate results in the fourth quarter have driven up analysts' expectations, and S&P 500 companies are on track to post earnings growth for the period instead of a decline as initially expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92.38 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 31,148.24, the S&P 500 gained 15.09 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 3,886.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.55 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 13,856.30.
For the week, the S&P 500 gained 4.65 per cent, the Nasdaq added 6.01 per cent and the Dow increased 3.89 per cent. The small-cap Russell 2000 index rose 7.7 per cent for the week, its biggest weekly percentage gain since the week ended June 5.
The Cboe Volatility index fell and had its biggest weekly point drop since the week ended Nov. 6.
The S&P 500 technology index ended down 0.2 per cent after hitting a record high earlier in the session.
Johnson & Johnson rose 1.5 per cent after the drug maker said it had asked US health regulators to authorise its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Shares of GameStop Corp, caught in the recent social media-hyped trading frenzy, rose 19.2 per cent on Friday, after online broker Robinhood lifted all the buying curbs imposed at the height of the battle between amateur investors and Wall Street hedge funds.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.33-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.94-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 286 new highs and four new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 13.65 billion shares, compared with the 15.5 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.