Midday Update: Stocks Rally On Friendly Jobs Report
Wall Street is back in rally mode Friday after the February labor market report indicated a lack of wage pressures despite a significant gain in nonfarm payrolls, the combination of which should take off some of the pressure on the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates again this month.
The upbeat mood was enhanced by easing geopolitical pressures and President Trump's concessions to its allies regarding steel and aluminium tariffs, all of which contributed to a 300+ point gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and record high for the Nasdaq. All sectors of the S&P 500 with the exception of the defensive sectors are posting outsized gains led by financial and energy shares.
Futures were pressing higher before the jobs data and building on Thursday's gains on headlines that Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un in an attempt to diffuse the nuclear threat between the two countries as well as upbeat Chinese inflation data. The news overshadowed China's threat to retaliate on US trade restrictions and set Wall Street on a course to rally on friendly labor market data.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 313,000 last month, the strongest monthly gain since Oct. 2015 and well above estimates for a 205,000 gain. Additionally, both December and January were given healthy upward revisions. Stocks took off, however, on the benign 0.1% gain in average hourly earnings, missing expectations for a 0.2% gain.
Other components of the report were also bullish: the jobless rate was unchanged at 4.1%, largely a result of the increased participation rate to 63.0% from 62.7%. Private payrolls increased by a greater-than-expected 287,000 and manufacturing jobs jumped 31,000, double what Wall Street expected.
European markets followed their Wall Street counterparts higher with the exception of Germany's DAX, which was weighed down by downbeat manufacturing data and export data.
Crude oil was up $1.63 to $61.75 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $2.74 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $2.70 to $1,324.10 an ounce, while silver was up $0.16 to $16.66 an ounce. Copper was down $0.06 to $3.14 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 2.30% to $12.43 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.77% to $22.74. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.20% to 21.67 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.16% to $125.62. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.90% to $15.69.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was up 123.09 points (+0.97%) to 12,867.89
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 332.68 points (+1.34%) to 25,227.89
S&P 500 Index was up 33.70 points (+1.23%) to 2,772.82
Nasdaq Composite was up 98.91 points (+1.31%) to 7,525.53
FTSE 100 was up 21.27 points (+0.30%) to 7,224.51
DAX was down 8.89 points (-0.07%) to 12,346.68
CAC 40 was up 20.30 points (+0.39%) to 5,274.40
Nikkei 225 was up 101.13 points (+0.47%) to 21,469.20
Hang Seng Index was up 341.69 points (+1.11%) to 30,996.21
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 19.23 points (+0.58%) to 3,307.64
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 148.47 points (+1.39%) to 10,834.58
NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 105.74 points (+1.28%) to 8,388.73
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 124.91 points (+0.86%) to 14,625.28
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