Stocks rally, dollar gains on robust U.S. jobs data - Metro US

Stocks rally, dollar gains on robust U.S. jobs data

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar rose and global equity markets rallied on Friday after data showed U.S. job growth increased by the most in 10 months in November, putting to rest fears of recession and briefly taking the spotlight off the U.S.-China trade talks.

U.S. Treasury and German bund yields jumped, while gold slipped as much as 1%, reflecting increased investor appetite for risk.

The stronger-than-expected Labor Department data showed steady wage gains and the unemployment rate falling to 3.5%, suggesting consumers will continue to drive the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, now in its 11th year.

The improving data validates the Federal Reserve’s decision last month to cut interest rates for the third time this year, while signaling a pause in the easing cycle that started in July, when it reduced borrowing costs for the first time since 2008.

“This certainly contributes to the idea that the U.S. economy is doing better than most folks would give it credit for,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“This was a very solid report and should put those fears of recession firmly in the rear view,” he said.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.76%.

European equities rallied, with the pan-regional STOXX 600 index rising 1.16%.

Shares on Wall Street rose as the report bolstered the consensus view that consumer strength will support the U.S. economy and in turn, equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 305.08 points, or 1.1%, to 27,982.87. The S&P 500 gained 29.32 points, or 0.94%, to 3,146.75 and the Nasdaq Composite added 79.98 points, or 0.93%, to 8,650.68.

The dollar gained after five straight days of losses on weaker-than-expected U.S. data on manufacturing and the service sector, which indicated slowing economic growth.

The dollar index rose 0.39%, with the euro down 0.5% to $1.1046. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.05% versus the greenback at 108.71 per dollar.

Analysts said the jobs report showed underlying strength in the U.S. economy and offset mixed signals from other economic data earlier in the week.

“This is going to throw a wrench into the argument that the economy is slowing down,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“Companies don’t hire if the economy is slowing down. Companies go the other way,” he said.

The unemployment report provided a respite from persistent pessimism on the economy and nagging doubts about the prolonged U.S.-China trade war, which faces a looming hurdle with a new round of U.S. tariffs scheduled to take effect on Dec. 15.

Most economic data will continue to take a back seat to the U.S.-China trade negotiations, which will remain the driver of market action for most of December, Arone said.

China said on Friday it will waive import tariffs for some soybeans and pork shipments from the United States.

The gesture aimed to help conclude a “phase one” or interim deal to de-escalate the 17-month trade war that has roiled financial markets, disrupted supply chains and weighed on global economic growth.

China stocks posted their biggest weekly advance in nearly two months, with blue-chips up 0.6%.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 12/32 in price to yield 1.8346%.

Germany’s 10-year Bund yield rose to -0.273% before paring some gains to trade at -0.298%.

Oil prices rose sharply after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed to extend output cuts by 500,000 barrels per day in early 2020.

Brent futures rose 80 cents to $64.19 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate oil futures rose 45 cents to $58.88 a barrel.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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