NEW YORK (AP) — The prospect of more economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve because of a slowdown in hiring last month pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index further into record territory Tuesday.
Whirlpool, Delta Air Lines and Kimberly-Clark rose sharply after reporting higher earnings.
The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in September, the Labor Department said. That suggests employers held back on hiring before a 16-day partial government shutdown began Oct. 1. Economist surveyed by data provider FactSet had predicted 180,000 jobs would be added.
September's job report was delayed 2 ½ weeks because of the shutdown, which may have further depressed economic growth and hiring. Analysts are also expecting the coming October's job report to be weak because of the impact of the shutdown.
"We've probably got another relatively soft report ahead of us," said Jeff Kleintop, Chief Market Strategist for LPL Financial. "That's likely to keep the Fed on hold for some time and the market seems to like that."
The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion of bonds a month to keep long-term interest rates low and spur economic growth. The central bank's stimulus has been a key support for a 4 ½-year rally in stocks.
The S&P 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,751 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern Time. The index is trading at a record level, after rebounding from a slump before lawmakers reached a deal last week to end the government shutdown and avert a potential default on U.S. debt.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 57 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,447. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 3,923.
Investors are also following company earnings for the third quarter.
S&P 500 companies are forecast to report average earnings growth of 3.2 percent for the July-to-September period, according to the latest estimate for S&P Capital IQ. That would be the slowest rate of growth since the third quarter a year ago.
While growth has slowed, about two-thirds of companies are reporting earnings that surpass the estimates of Wall Street analysts.
"So far, the bottom line earnings are beating the reduced expectations," said Darrell Cronk, a regional Chief Investment Officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. "The revenue is still disappointing a little bit on the top side."
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.53 percent from 2.60 percent, its lowest level since late July. The yield on the note has fallen as traders have pared back their expectations for the start of Fed easing.
In commodities trading, the price of crude oil fell 66 cents to $99.02 a barrel. The price of gold rose $25.10, or 1.9 percent, to $1,340.90 an ounce.
Among stocks making big moves:
— Whirlpool rose $12.68, or 9.7 percent, to $143.60 after the company said its third-quarter net income more than doubled, benefiting from some tax credits as consumer demand for its appliances continues to build amid the housing recovery.
— Delta Air Lines rose 92 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $25.61. The airline made more than a billion dollars in the third quarter as more passengers paid a little bit extra to fly. Delta also said it was seeing strong holiday bookings.
— Kimberly-Clark rose $2.45, or 2.5 percent, to $101.20 after the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers said its third-quarter net income rose 6 percent.
— Coach fell $4.20, or 7.7 percent, to $49.99 after the maker of luxury handbags and accessories said its net income fell 2 percent in its fiscal first quarter as the company dealt with weaker sales in North America. The earnings fell short of analysts' expectations.
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Original headline: Tepid US employment data stokes Fed stimulus hopes
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