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US: Stocks back in record range after solid jobs data

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[NEW YORK] US stocks returned to record territory on Friday following a solid jobs report and a move by President Donald Trump to roll back banking regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis.

The Nasdaq finished at a fresh record, while the S&P 500 climbed to within a point of a new peak and the Dow vaulted back above 20,000 points.

Equity markets also rose in London, Paris and Frankfurt. Tokyo was flat.

Mr Trump ordered a review of key reforms enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, in the first step towards scaling back toughened regulations on the banking industry.

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The moves could result in lower costs for compliance and clear away rules that restrict investments from proprietary accounts.

Shares of major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs surged three per cent or more, while the broader market also took heart from Mr Trump's focus on an economic issue after several contentious moves on immigration and trade.

"There was a whole a ton of really disappointing moves by the Trump administration and the market did not really sell off that much, and then you get just small pieces of positive news from them and the market goes up quite a bit," said Karl Haeling, Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Markets were also buoyed by the January US jobs report, which included a better-than-expected 227,000 new jobs, keeping up the positive trends from the Obama years into the start of the term of President Donald Trump.

Analysts said the report, while solid, was not likely strong enough to alter the Federal Reserve's plan to only increase interest rates gradually. The report showed only modest wage growth.

The dollar retreated against the euro and the pound.

"Weaker wage growth takes a March rate hike off the table for the time being especially in light of the Fed's less hawkish views," said BK Asset Management managing director Kathy Lien.

"The mixed jobs report and lack of unambiguous optimism hurt the dollar and could keep it under pressure in the new trading week."

Macy's gained 6.4 per cent following reports it was in early talks towards a possible acquisition by Canada's Hudson's Bay. The news comes on the heels of announcements of job cuts and store closures by Macy's, which has struggled to transition to the e-commerce era. Hudson's Bay climbed 3.9 per cent in Toronto.

Amazon dropped 3.5 per cent after it reported fourth-quarter net income jumped 55.3 per cent to US$749 million. However, revenues during the key holiday season came in a billion dollars shy of expectations at US$43.7 billion.

AFP

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