Markets solid after strong US jobs data

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2013 12:21 PM

LONDON (AP) — Global stocks rose Friday as investors welcomed forecast-busting U.S. jobs data, even though they reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce its monetary stimulus this month.

The news that the U.S. generated 203,000 jobs in November, above expectations for 180,000, and that the unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent from 7.3 percent provided further evidence that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand any reduction in the Fed's stimulus at its policy meeting on Dec. 18.

A run of strong economic data this week had already cemented forecasts that the Fed would back a so-called tapering of its $85 billion in monthly financial asset purchases. Earlier this year, fears of the stimulus withdrawal had caused jitters in the markets as the monetary injection has helped to shore up stocks for several years. Now, though, investors are increasingly focusing on the improvements in the world's largest economy.

"This is a solid across-the-board jobs report that is consistent with gathering upward momentum in the U.S. economy," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital. "From the markets point of view, the jobs report is not an impediment to an early tapering."

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.8 percent to close at 6,551.99 while Germany's DAX rose 1 percent to 9,172.41. The CAC-40 in France rose 0.7 percent to 4,129.37.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.9 percent at 15,963.37 while the broader S&P 500 index rose 0.9 percent to 1,801.05.

"That equities are this strong is a clear signal to the Fed that tapering will not do too much damage to risk appetite — which will have the effect of making a December tapering even more likely," said Alan Ruskin, an analyst at Deutsche Bank.

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The dollar was solid after the payrolls figures, particularly against the yen, as any reduction in the stimulus will reduce the amount of dollars in circulation. Though the euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.3689, the dollar spiked 1.1 percent to 102.89 yen.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.8 percent to 15,299.86 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 23,743.10. China's Shanghai Composite dropped 0.4 percent to 2,237.11 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent to 5,186.