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US: Dow, S&P hit new records after robust US jobs report

Saturday, December 6, 2014 - 06:56
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The Dow and the S&P 500 climbed modestly to fresh record highs on Friday after a blockbuster US labour report showed widespread jobs growth in November.

[NEW YORK] The Dow and the S&P 500 climbed modestly to fresh record highs on Friday after a blockbuster US labour report showed widespread jobs growth in November.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 58.69 points (0.33 per cent) at 17,958.79, topping its Wednesday mark by about 46 points.

The broad-market S&P 500 index added 3.32 (0.16 per cent) at 2,075.24, also a record, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.32 (0.24 per cent) to 4,780.76.

The Dow capped the first week of December closing just shy of the 18,000 mark after the Labour Department reported the economy added a much stronger-than-expected 321,000 jobs in November, the best jobs growth in nearly three years.

Upward revisions of the prior two months added a combined 44,000 jobs and brought the yearly average to 241,000 a month.

Despite the jobs data coming in far better than analysts expected, the stock market struggled to find direction before following financials higher, Briefing.com analysts said in a market note.

"The lack of broad strength following a solid jobs report was a reflection of concerns that the Fed may be inclined to hike the fed funds rate sooner than the market expected," they said.

The jobs report came less than two weeks before the Federal Reserve's next monetary policy meeting. The Fed has signaled it would raise its federal funds rate from near zero in mid-2015, depending on economic performance.

Other economic data were mixed. The US trade deficit narrowed to US$43.4 billion in October due to increased exports, while factory orders fell for the third consecutive month.

Financial stocks were big gainers. Dow members Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase were up 1.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively. Bank of America gained 2.7 per cent.

Oil giant Chevron was the blue-chip index's biggest laggard, losing 1.3 per cent on falling oil prices.

Tech titan Apple fell 0.4 percent as media reported that a class-action lawsuit over iPods may be thrown out.

Discount retailer Big Lots dived 16.6 per cent after reporting a wider-than-expected net loss of US$3.4 million for the third quarter.

Burger King Worldwide rose 0.4 per cent after saying it expects to close its deal to buy Canadian coffee-and-donut chain Tim Hortons by December 12. The fast-food chain also announced a joint venture to grow business in Italy, Poland, Greece and Romania.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.31 per cent from 2.26 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year held steady at 2.96 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP