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Friday , December 6 2019

Global stocks up as commodities, emerging markets rise; dollar falls – Global stocks up as commodities, emerging markets rise; dollar falls

NEW YORK, March 4, (Agencies): Stock markets worldwide edged up on Friday, on pace for a fourth day of gains, as commodities prices firmed and strong US jobs growth bolstered confidence in the global economy.

US equity indexes advanced following February’s jobs data, which showed strong growth in payrolls and an increase in labor-force participation, but a surprising decline in monthly wage growth.

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 242,000 jobs last month, beating forecasts for 190,000 new jobs, but wages dipped by 0.1 percent after a strong January 0.5 percent increase.

“It’s good news for the US economy, but the lack of growth in wages suggests the Fed should be in no rush to hike,” said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.19 points, or 0.44 percent, to 17,018.09, moving above 17,000 for the first time since Jan. 6. The benchmark S&P 500 gained 8.89 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,002.29, and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.80 points, or 0.36 percent, to 4,724.23.

Brazil’s stock market rose to its highest in at least six months after police detained former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for questioning in an investigation of a bribery and money laundering scheme.

The US dollar fell, as the decrease in wage growth added uncertainty about whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. Short-term rate indicators are pricing in one rate increase by next March.

“Because the wages data were weak, the market does not need to materially change its view on future Fed policy,” said Shahab Jalinoos, global head of FX strategy at Credit Suisse in New York.

MSCI’s global gauge of stocks was up 0.3 percent to a new eight-week high. Asian shares closed with their best week in five months and European stock markets were headed for a third week of gains.

Emerging markets rose more than 1 percent for the second straight day, with MSCI’s emerging market stock metric up 1.25 percent.

Crude oil futures were on pace to make a second straight 6 percent weekly jump. Benchmark Brent futures were up 0.5 percent to $37.27, a two-month high. US crude rose 0.2 percent to $34.63.

Iron ore and copper both hit four-month highs.

The dollar fell 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies as the euro rose back above $1.10 for the first time since Feb. 26. The dollar also fell against the yen at 113.60 yen.

US

Wall Street drifted higher on Friday, after swinging between gains and losses, as data showing strong employment gains last month was tempered by a drop in wages and hours worked.

Gains by energy and materials stocks pushed the S&P 500 above 2,000 and the Dow over 17,000 for the first time since Jan 6, as data further highlighted that the economic recovery was gaining momentum.

The Fed meets next on March 15-16. Traders still see the odds overwhelmingly against a rate hike this month.

At 12:19 pm ET (1719 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 64.41 points, or 0.38 percent, at 17,008.31, the S&P 500 was up 8.22 points, or 0.41 percent, at 2,001.62 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 18.49 points, or 0.39 percent, at 4,725.91.

Seven of the 10 S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.85 percent rise in the energy sector. Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise were up 13.4 percent at $15.43 after the company reported better-than-expected results.

Broadcom was up 6.9 percent at $146.74 after the chipmaker reported higher-than-expected profit.

H & R Block was down 16.8 percent at $27.38 after the tax preparer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Carmike Cinemas was up 16.5 percent at $29.25 after AMC Entertainment said it would buy the theater chain for $1.1 billion, including debt. AMC was up 3.3 percent at $26.55.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,160 to 772. On the Nasdaq, 1,885 issues rose and 823 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 15 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 21 lows.

Europe

European stock markets edged higher Friday in a cautiously optimistic end to the week but US shares marginally dipped after data showed strong jobs growth in the United States but falling wages.

After Asia earlier notched up gains, markets looked set to end an upbeat week across global trading floors on moderate highs, with the focus turning to the start of China’s annual policy gathering.

After a miserable start to the year for investors, March has so far been a ray of sunshine thanks to some positive US data and Beijing’s decision to ease monetary policy, dealers said.

A pick-up in oil prices — which in January were near 13-year lows below $30 a barrel — has also provided some stability, with energy firms breathing a sigh of relief.

n Key figures around 1545 GMT

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 6,173.46 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 9,818.21 points

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 4,442.83 points

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,037.25 points

UK

Britain’s mining index climbed to a four-month high on Friday, boosted by a rally in the prices of major industrial metals.

Glencore, Anglo American, BHP Billiton , Antofagasta and Rio Tinto rose by 5.9 to 11.9 percent.

They helped the index surge 8.1 percent, taking 2016 gains to 31 percent as copper prices climbed to their highest in nearly four months on Friday..

“Miners are having a great run as some investors believe that stronger metals prices may change the fate of the basic resources sector,” said Securequity senior trader, Jawaid Afsar.

“However, the sector remains vulnerable in the near term as the recent rally may prompt some people to book profits.”

The advance by mining shares helped the blue-chip FTSE 100 to close 1.1 percent higher at 6,199.43 points, outperforming the broader European market.

The index also benefitted from a surge in US nonfarm payrolls, a sign of labour market strength that could further ease fears the economy might be heading into recession.

The UK stock index has surged more than 12 percent since hitting a multi-year low last month. It has now posted its third week of straight gains for the first time in 2016.

Among the gains was budget airline easyJet, which rose 4.5 percent after saying passenger numbers rose 9.8 percent in February.

But asset manager Schroders was down 4.2 percent after Citigroup downgraded it to “neutral” from “buy”, citing challenging markets and the company’s comments on future investment.

Builders’ merchant Travis Perkins fell 3.6 percent after investment bank Deutsche Bank and brokerage Stifel cut their price targets for the stocks.

Asia

Dealers edged up in Asia on Friday, ending an upbeat week across global trading floors on a high, with focus turning to a key US jobs report and the start of China’s annual policy gathering.

After the miserable start to the year for investors, March has so far been a ray of sunshine thanks to some positive US data and Beijing’s decision to ease monetary policy.

A pick-up in oil prices — which in January were near 13-year lows below $30 a barrel — has also provided some stability, with energy firms breathing a sigh of relief.

Tokyo’s Nikkei ended 0.3 percent higher, while Hong Kong added 1.2 percent in the afternoon.

Shanghai closed 0.5 percent higher and Sydney 0.2 percent. Singapore and Wellington enjoyed big gains but Seoul dipped 0.1 percent.

In early European trade London rose 0.4 percent, while Frankfurt and Paris added 0.5 percent each.

“It would not surprise me to see traders finish the week on a cautious note ahead of China’s National People’s Congress this weekend and the US jobs data tonight,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst in Sydney at CMC Markets, said in an e-mail to clients.

“The question of where China’s authorities stand on balance between short-term economic stimulus and longer-term structural reform is a key issue for world markets,” he said, according to Bloomberg News.

Oil prices, for most of this year a millstone around the neck of traders, retained recent gains on hopes that key producers, including Russia and OPEC titan Saudi Arabia, would be able to agree to a deal to freeze or cut output.

In afternoon trade US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 0.6 percent at $34.78 while Brent was 0.5 percent at $37.25.

The broadly positive outlook also helped emerging market currencies that have been battered this year by a flight to safer, lower-yielding, investments.

The Australian dollar put on 0.5 percent, the South Korean won added one percent and Thai baht added 0.2 percent, while Indonesia’s rupiah gained 0.5 percent.

The oil-reliant Malaysian ringgit put on 0.1 percent while the New Zealand and Singapore dollars each added 0.8 percent.

n Key figures around 0830 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 17,014.78 (close)

Shanghai – composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,874.15 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.2 percent at 20,176.70 (close)

Oil

Crude oil futures rose on Friday, building on the week’s gains, after increased US employment gave further momentum to rising prices.

Brent futures gained 40 cents to $37.47 a barrel as of 1519 GMT, after settling 14 cents higher in the previous session. The crude benchmark is set to end the week with a gain of more than 5 percent.

US crude futures traded up 33 cents at $34.90 a barrel, having settled down 9 cents in the previous session.

“We’ve had another good week, the market has been toying with resistance around the $37.50 area in Brent. We had a break above but it failed to hold – to me it indicates we could be in a Friday afternoon profit mode,” Saxo Bank’s head of commodities research Ole Hansen said.

“The psychology seems to have turned in the market and although we may see some profit-taking into the weekend, we potentially could still be moving higher next week.”

Gold

Gold steadied on Friday, after hitting its highest level in more than a year on a softer dollar, as traders awaited U.S. payrolls data for further clues on monetary policy.

Weak numbers in the payrolls data, due at 1330 GMT, may further dampen expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again this year, benefiting non-yielding gold.

Spot gold was at $1,264.96 an ounce at 1216 GMT, up 0.1 percent but well off an earlier high of $1,274.70 an ounce, its strongest since February last year. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up 0.6 percent at $1,266.10.

The metal has risen 20 percent this year as volatility in equities and oil prices picked up, prompting investors to buy bullion as a haven from risk. A 0.3 percent drop in the dollar versus the euro helped support gold on Friday.

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