NEW YORK, April 5 — Wall Street’s main indexes rose today after data showed US employment in March accelerated from a 17-month low, easing concerns of a domestic slowdown, while hopes of a US-China trade deal added to the sentiment.
The Labor Department report showed nonfarm payrolls rose by 196,000 jobs last month, above economists’ estimate of 180,000, as milder weather boosted hiring in sectors like construction.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.1 per cent in March, after jumping 0.4 per cent per cent in the previous month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 per cent.
The report adds to fairly upbeat construction spending and factory numbers that led Wall Street banks to boost their growth estimates for the first quarter.
“A mixed but overall very solid jobs report. The healthy bounce back in hiring last month should help to quell recession fears,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
“Still, weaker wage growth suggests the Fed’s December rate hike may have been its last in the current cycle.”
The Federal Reserve last month suspended its three-year campaign to tighten monetary policy, increasing market expectations of an interest rate cut.
However, the latest job numbers gave traders little reason to reprice expectations for a rate cut in 2020.
Bank stocks, which tend to benefit from a rising interest-rate environment, dipped 0.1 per cent.
The markets were also helped by President Donald Trump’s comments that the US and China were close to a trade deal that could be announced within four weeks, potentially easing concerns about a months-long tariff war that has clouded global growth.
Trade hopes and a dovish Fed have helped push the S&P 500 to its highest since October 9, putting the index 1.8 per cent away from an all-time high of 2,940.91 points.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said the index could scale new highs above 3,000 in the second quarter, fuelled by gains in bank and oil stocks, before peaking out.
At 9.49am ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 58.27 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 26,442.90, the S&P 500 was up 7.53 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 2,886.92 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 26.44 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 7,918.22.
Of the 11 major S&P sectors, nine were trading higher, with a 0.3 per cent rise in technology stocks leading gains.
Heavyweights Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp helped support the tech sector.
However, capping gains among Dow Industrials was Dow Inc , which dropped 2.5 per cent after J.P. Morgan started coverage on the company, which was spun-off from DowDuPont Inc, with an “underweight” rating.
Intel Corp slipped 1.6 per cent after Wells Fargo downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.
Viacom Inc rose 2.1 per cent after RBC Capital Markets upgraded the company to “outperform”.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.21-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.10-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 21 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 40 new highs and eight new lows. — Reuters
Source: The Malay Mail Online