Bumper US jobs data shore up stock markets

AP News
Posted: Aug 05, 2016 8:58 AM
Bumper US jobs data shore up stock markets

LONDON (AP) — A bumper set of U.S. jobs data Friday shored up stock markets and gave the dollar a modest boost as investors breathed a sigh of relief that the world's biggest economy appears stronger than recent growth figures have suggested.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC-40 rose 0.8 percent to 4,380 while Germany's DAX advanced 0.8 percent, too, to 10,313. London's FTSE 100 was 0.3 percent higher at 6,766. Wall Street looked set for modest gains at the open, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.4 percent.

JOBS RELIEF: Figures from the Labor Department showed that U.S. employers added 255,000 jobs last month, around 75,000 more than anticipated in financial markets. The figures suggest that U.S. employers shook off concerns about Britain's late-June vote to quit the European Union. Nor were they apparently discouraged by tepid growth in the first half of the year of just an annual 1 percent.

THE STAKES: The figures are likely to reinforce expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again this year. The Fed raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade last December and had been expected to move again this year but financial market volatility linked to the slowdown in China and worries over the global impact of Britain's decision to leave the European Union altered the landscape for the central bank.

ANALYST TAKE: "This represents more of a return to the form of the first six months of the year, and indicates Fed Chair Janet Yellen is presiding over a strong but not spectacular U.S. economy," said Dennis de Jong, managing director at UFX.com.

DOLLAR JUMPS: The dollar pushed higher after the figures. The euro was down 0.3 percent at $1.1100 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent at 101.28 yen.

ENERGY: Oil prices reversed after the figures. Benchmark U.S. crude was up shed 11 cents to $42.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 14 cents to $44.43 in London.

ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.4 percent to 22,146.09 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,497.40. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2 percent to 2,976.70 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was unchanged at 16,254.45. India's Sensex advanced 0.8 percent 27,945.46 and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose. Singapore and the Philippines declined.