NEW YORK: All three major US stock indexes climbed almost two per cent on Friday and the Nasdaq closed at a record high, as February’s jobs report eased fears of inflation and aggressive interest rate hikes.
A month ago, the market had been spooked by wage growth that fuelled inflation fears, leading to a spike in volatility and a stock market correction. That sentiment has reversed over recent weeks with the market gradually nudging higher.
The bull market, which began on March 9, 2009, is the second longest on record, leading to questions about how much longer it can last.
Along with the jobs data, stocks were supported by easing fears of trade wars and signs of a thaw in nuclear tensions with North Korea after US President Donald Trump said he was prepared to meet the country’s leader.
Inflationary fears dissipated on Friday after US Labor Department data showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by 313,000 jobs last month, while average hourly earnings rose only 0.1 per cent compared with a 0.3 per cent rise in January.
‘If we can continue like that – keep the participation increasing and keep wages steady – that’s going to be a positive scenario so the market doesn’t get overly worried about inflation running away,’ said Catherine Avery, President of Catherine Avery Investment Management in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 440.53 points, or 1.77 per cent, to end at 25,335.74, the S&P 500 gained 47.6 points, or 1.74 per cent, to 2,786.57 and the Nasdaq Composite added 132.86 points, or 1.79 per cent, to 7,560.81.
LONDON: UK shares finished at a one-week high, joining in a broader equity rally following supportive US jobs data which calmed investor nerves over tighter monetary policy.
The country’s blue chip FTSE benchmark index ended the session 0.3 per cent higher at 7,224.51 points, while mid-caps gained 0.6 per cent as investors digested a number of earnings updates.
US job growth recorded its biggest increase in more than one-and-a-half years in February, but a slowdown in wage gains pointed to only a gradual increase in inflation this year, which dampened the possibility of the Federal Reserve increasing rates faster.
In Germany the DAX was down 0.07 per cent, and the French stock markets was 0.39 per cent higher.
Other supportive developments included US President Donald Trump’s comments on possible exemptions from import tariffs on steel and aluminium, and that he was prepared to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
TOKYO: Asian shares pared sharp early gains on Friday ahead of US payrolls data which could hasten Federal Reserve rate hikes, and as some caution set in about the new entente between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
Kim has committed to ‘denuclearisation’ and offered to hold the first-ever US-North Korea summit, marking a potentially dramatic breakthrough in the North Korea nuclear standoff.
Japan’s Nikkei was 0.47 per cent firmer, having been up more than two per cent at one stage. South Korean stocks eased too but were still one per cent higher.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6 per cent.
WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX 50 index on Friday rose 0.37 per cent, to 8,390.01.