Markets

Mid-Day Update: Wall Street Recovers As Oil Trends Higher; February Wage Contraction Seen Lowering Prospects for March Rate Increase

Stocks were rising for a fourth consecutive day, supported by gains for energy stocks as crude oil prices extend their recent rally.

The markets initially turned lower ahead of the opening bell after the Labor Department reported an increase of 242,000 new jobs last month, soundly beating estimates for 190,000 new jobs. But the upbeat payroll number was tempered somewhat by a 0.1% contraction in average hourly earnings, which some investors expect to keep the Federal Reserve from increasing interest rates at their next meeting later this month..

Following some modest slippage soon after the opening bell, shares snapped higher, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 17,000 and the S&P 500 past 2,000 for the first time in seven weeks. Both market measures also breached their respective 50-day moving averages.

The U.S. payroll report also encouraged sizable gains across Europe, cementing a third weekly gain for European equities. EU-zone bourses were also underpinned by an overnight report that the European Central Bank lacks a consensus on which tools it could use to stimulate growth. Odds favor an increase in quantitative easing, although the possibility of a drop in the discount rate has been increasing. The ECB governing council next meets on March 10.

Crude oil was up $1.22 to $35.77 per barrel. Natural gas was up 2 cents to $1.66 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $9.70 to $1,268.10 per ounce, while silver was up 56 cents to $15.72 per ounce. Copper was up 8 cents to $2.29 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 3.39% to $9.56 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 2.07% to $5.91. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 4.04% to 20.61 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.42% to $121.24. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.90% to $14.91.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 77.56 (+0.78%) to 9,985.53

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 65.78 (+0.39%) to 17,009.68

S&P 500 up 7.86 (+0.39%) to 2,001.26

Nasdaq Composite Index up 8.47 (+0.39%) to 4,725.90

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index up 0.32%

Hang Seng Index up 1.18%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.50%

FTSE 100 Index up 1.13%

CAC 40 up 0.92%

DAX up 0.74%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index up 2.10%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.54%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.19%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) SDRL (+55.04%) Chairman John Fredriksen sold third of his shares in Maine Harvest ( MHG ), possibly to support Seadrill bailout

(+) CRC (+42.02%) CEO Stevens buys 11,500 shares

(+) SUNE (+18.09%) Settles dispute with Latin America Power, vacating a temporary restraining order preventing the transfer of asset

(+) CKEC (+16.57%) To be acquired by AMC Entertainment ( AMC ) for $1.1 billion

(+) HPE (+13.75%) Reported above consensus Q1 results

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) MTW (-75.21%) First day as stand-alone company for Manitowoc Foodservice (MFS) after splitting from Manitowoc Company

(-) VTAE (-52.65%) Reported narrower-than-expected loss on below-consensus revenue

(-) HRB (-16.84%) Reported a wider-than-expected loss for FQ3

(-) NMBL (-14.06%) Cautious guidance overshadowed better-than-expected Q4 revenue

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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