The Bull

Saturday 20

October, 2018 1:39 PM



Tech, strong jobs data boost Wall St

Tech, strong jobs data boost Wall St

US stocks have closed higher after monthly jobs data topped economist estimates and technology stocks supported gains.

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By AAP 02.06.2018 07:38 AM

Wall Street stocks have closed higher after the latest monthly jobs report pointed to strength in the US economy and geopolitical tensions eased.

Technology stocks led the rally, with gains in heavyweight companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet lifting the S&P 500 tech index to a record high.

Government data showed that in May the US economy added 223,000 non-farm jobs and average hourly wages increased 0.3 per cent, both topping economist estimates.

The unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low of 3.8 per cent. Data on construction spending and industrial production also pointed to accelerating economic growth.

Markets got a reprieve as Italy installed a coalition government, removing the risk of a repeat vote dominated by debate on whether the country would quit the euro.

Further calming geopolitical concerns, US President Donald Trump announced the resumption of plans for a summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.

"The Trump economy continues to work very, very well," said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco. "It's good news for the market."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 219.37 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 24,635.21, the S&P 500 gained 29.35 points, or 1.08 per cent, to 2,734.62 and the Nasdaq Composite added 112.22 points, or 1.51 per cent, to 7,554.33.

The Cboe Volatility index, a barometer of expected near-term stock market gyrations, ended down at 13.46, its lowest closing level in a week.

For the week, the S&P rose 0.48 per cent, the Dow lost 0.48 per cent, and the Nasdaq gained 1.62 per cent.

In the view of some investors, the strong economic data raised the likelihood the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates four times this year. Concerns that rising rates will dampen future growth have sent US stocks tumbling on several occasions this year. But investors said they did not find Friday's data concerning.

"The wage numbers were a little warm, but that wasn't enough to spook people," Massocca said.

However, investors are keeping an eye out on developments around trade after Washington imposed steel and aluminium tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Canada and Mexico retaliated, targeting US steel and aluminium imports and products such as whiskey and blue jeans.

Tech stocks, which led gains on Friday, may be somewhat insulated from those trade risks.

The Nasdaq was just over one per cent away from a record high as tech stocks largely cushioned the index in the past week even while the broader markets suffered. By comparison, the S&P 500 was 4.8 per cent off its January 26 peak.

Volume on US exchanges was 7.04 billion shares, compared with the 6.61 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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