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US: Stocks jump on strong November jobs data

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Wall Street stocks surged higher on Friday following a strong US jobs report, with petroleum-linked equities especially buoyant after an OPEC agreement to cut output.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks surged higher on Friday following a strong US jobs report, with petroleum-linked equities especially buoyant after an OPEC agreement to cut output.

Stocks closed higher for the third straight session, though a bit below all-time highs following the November jobs data, which topped expectations by a wide margin.

US firms added a massive 266,000 net new positions last month, while the jobless rate fell a tenth of a point to 3.5 per cent, matching a 50-year low.

Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, said investors were heartened at higher manufacturing employment following the end of the General Motors strike and that the report in general was strong enough "to assuage fears that the economy was slowing".

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 28,015.06, up 1.2 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.9 per cent to 3,145.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced one per cent to 8,656.53.

Besides the strong jobs data, markets were supported by positive sentiment about US-China trade talks. White House economic aide Larry Kudlow told CNBC a deal between the two economic giants "is still close".

Petroleum producers Exxon Mobil and Chevron both won more than one per cent after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies reached a deal in Vienna to cut production by 500,000 barrels per day.

Among individual companies, Uber Technologies dropped 2.7 per cent as it disclosed that it had tallied nearly 6,000 sexual assaults in the United States over the past couple of years, including more than 450 cases of rape.

The report comes as the company faces complaints that it is doing too little to protect passengers. Some analysts said the release of the report was constructive in that it showed the company was trying to tackle the problem.

Goldman Sachs gained 3.4 per cent following a Bloomberg report that it could end up paying less than US$2 billion to resolve a US criminal probe in its role in the scandal over 1MDB, a corruption-plagued Malaysian fund. The figure is below some estimates.

AFP