Pedestrians walk past an electronic stock board at a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stocks Rise as Jobs Spur Optimism in Economy: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose while Treasuries fell as the latest labor report showed the American economy continued to strengthen without the prior month’s rapid wage gains that stoked inflation fears. The dollar weakened against most peers.

The S&P 500 rose to the highest since Feb. 1, capping a 3.5 percent rally in the week after employers hired the most workers in almost two years and wages remained stagnant, allaying fears the Federal Reserve may accelerate its rate-hike schedule. The measure sits 3 percent below its all-time high. Tech shares paced gains, taking the Nasdaq Composite to a fresh record as it capped an 12 percent rally since a February low.

Ten-year Treasury yields headed for the first one-week advance in three, while the greenback slid against most major currencies except for the Japanese yen. West Texas crude advanced toward $62 a barrel.

The U.S. employment data presented a “Goldilocks” picture of the economy for stock investors, giving the impression the Fed will have room to gradually increase rates this year. Shares also got a boost from news President Trump accepted an invitation to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which followed a narrower-than-expected tariff plan from the White House Thursday that eased speculation of a trade war.

“It was a great jobs report -- it tells a good story for the country, but it was as good or even better for the financial markets,” Rich Guerrini, the chief executive officer of PNC Investments, said by phone. “As we’ve looked at the past 30 days, really what started the volatility was a jobs report and the return of inflation due to wage growth. So you roll the calendar ahead a month, and you’re at a place getting another very good jobs report, but what the market loved was the wage inflationary issue really didn’t show itself.”

Elsewhere, the Mexican peso and the Canadian dollar strengthened on news the two countries will be exempted from the U.S.’s metals tariffs, while Norway’s krone climbed after February inflation rose above the central bank’s target. Bitcoin fell below $9,000, heading for its worst weekly decline since the start of last month.

Terminal users can read more in our markets blog.

Here are the remaining key events for this week:

  • The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference runs through March 15 and overlaps with the National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing, through March 20.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index rose 1.7 percent to 2,786.50 as of 4 p.m. New York time, its fifth gain in six days.
  • The The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.4 percent, its fifth consecutive advance.
  • The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained 0.2 percent, touching the highest in more than a week.
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 1 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index decreased less than 0.1 percent.
  • The euro rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.2313.
  • The British pound climbed 0.3 percent to $1.3852.
  • The Japanese yen decreased 0.6 percent to 106.85 per dollar, the biggest dip in more than two weeks.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced four basis points to 2.89 percent, the biggest gain in a week.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to 0.65 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield gained two basis points to 1.492 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 3.2 percent to $62.05 a barrel.
  • Gold was steady at $1,322.10 an ounce.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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