Stocks gain on weak US jobs figure

Sep 06, 2019: Clobal stock markets posted modest gains Friday while US jobs data pointed to a possible soft patch for the world's top economy, dealers said.

Eagerly-awaited non-farm payrolls (NFP) numbers missed analysts' forecasts but “fit into the current market narrative” that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this month, analyst Neil Wilson said.

Interest rate cuts often boost share prices.

Asian indices had risen earlier in the day on news that the United States and China are to resume high-level trade talks in October.

In New York, the Dow Jones index added 0.3 percent in midday trades.

On foreign exchanges the pound held above $1.23 on the brighter prospect that Britain could avoid crashing out of the European Union without a deal next month.

In Washington, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said employers added 130,000 net new positions in August, far fewer than analyst forecasts of around 160,000, while the jobless rate held steady at 3.7 percent and wages rose.

The headline figure included 25,000 temporary jobs related to the upcoming 2020 US Census, which meant hiring by private employers was even weaker.

Data for the two previous months were revised lower as well.

The NFP numbers suggest US economic activity is slowing down, reinforcing expectations of interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve this year.

The data showed a slight gain in wages “that indicates inflationary pressures may start to creep up on the Fed,” Wilson noted.

“This is perhaps the largest area for concern for equity markets within this report, albeit still nothing to induce panic,” he said.

At Oanda, Edward Moya added: “With aggregate weekly payrolls continuing a strong trend and better than expected wages, stagflation concerns may make the Fed a little hesitant in following through with as many rate cuts the market is pricing in over the next six months.”

– Shot in arm –

Meanwhile, after a tumultuous August, dealers got a shot in the arm this week from news that Beijing and Washington plan to resume trade talks next month.

China's commerce ministry said Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing's point man on trade, agreed to October talks in a call with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

This week also saw China flag plans for fresh economy-boosting measures.

“In recent months, there has been a lot of tough talk from both sides, but the prospect of the two sides sitting down, and holding trade talks has lifted sentiment,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“The trade spat has been going on for well over a year, and it is unlikely to be wrapped up soon, but at the moment things are going in the right direction.”

In Asia, Hong Kong finished up 0.7 percent, with dealers seeming to brush off news that Fitch had downgraded its sovereign debt rating citing the sometimes violent protests in the financial hub.

– Key figures around 1545 GMT –

  • London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,282.34 points (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 12,191.73 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,603.99 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,488.83
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2309 from $1.2334 at 2100 GMT
  • Euro/pound: UP at 89.77 pence from 89.46 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1048 from $1.1035
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.81 yen from 106.94 yen
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 21,199.57 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 26,690.76 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,999.60 (close)
  • New York – Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 26,801.90
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 37 cents at $60.58 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 52 cents at $55.78


Posted on: 2019-09-06T23:15:00+05:00