December 15, 2017
Friday, March 4, 2016

Wall Street higher after strong payrolls data

Wall Street drifted higher on Friday, after swinging between gains and losses, as data showing strong employment gains last month was tempered by a drop in wages and hours worked.

Gains by energy and materials stocks pushed the S&P 500 above 2,000 and the Dow over 17,000 for the first time since Jan. 6, as data further highlighted that the economic recovery was gaining momentum.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 242,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. However, lower wages and hours worked kept a lid on inflation, a key factor in the Federal Reserve's decision to raise rates.

The Fed has targeted a 2 percent annual inflation rate as a precursor to a sustained rise in interest rates.

"The number was strong enough to worry investors about the Fed's desire to move again in March, and yet was not so strong to put on the table a higher-than-a-coin-toss probability that it occurs in March," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

"The number had a little something for everybody, but at the same time, left enough confusion in the market to not take anything away from it."

The Fed meets next on March 15-16. Traders still see the odds overwhelmingly against a rate hike this month.

At 12:19 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 64.41 points, or 0.38 percent, at 17,008.31, the S&P 500 was up 8.22 points, or 0.41 percent, at 2,001.62 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 18.49 points, or 0.39 percent, at 4,725.91.

European shares rose too as the US report eased concerns about a possible recession in the world's largest economy, with miners boosted by firmer metals prices and auto stocks making their seventh day of gains in a row.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.7 percent to 1,344.62 points, scoring its third straight week of gains, while the euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 index climbed 0.8 percent.

Japanese stocks rose in choppy trade, but gains were limited as investors cautiously waited on a key US jobs report after unexpected signs of unemployment rising in the service sector.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.3 percent higher at 17,014.78 after trading in negative territory. The index rose for a fourth day, the longest winning streak since November 2015.

For the week, the Nikkei added 5.1 percent, posting the third weekly gains.

The broader Topix rose 0.5 percent to 1,375.35 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.2 percent to 12,444.36.

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia