March 1, 2024

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U.S. Stocks Seeing Continued Strength As Jobs Data Adds To Interest Rate Optimism

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Stocks have moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, extending the upward move seen over the past several sessions. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is advancing for the sixth consecutive session, while the Dow and the S&P 500 are climbing for the fifth straight day.

Currently, the major averages are off their highs of the session but still firmly positive. The Nasdaq is up 124.49 points or 0.9 percent at 13,418.68, the S&P 500 is up 34.11 points or 0.8 percent at 4,351.89 and the Dow is up 160.39 points or 0.5 percent at 33,999.47.

The continued strength on Wall Street reflects a positive reaction to a Labor Department report showing U.S. employment rose by less than expected in the month of October.

The closely watched report said employment climbed by 150,000 jobs in October after jumping by a downwardly revised 297,000 jobs in September.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 180,000 jobs compared to the surge of 336,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate crept up to 3.9 percent in October from 3.8 percent in September. The unemployment rate was expected to remain unchanged.

The data has added to optimism the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates after the central bank left rates unchanged for the third time in four meetings earlier this week.

Treasury yields are extending a recent slump following the release of the report, adding to the buying interest on Wall Street.

“Given that jobs growth is slowing and the unemployment rate is ticking up slightly, that is the kind of data that will keep the Fed on hold and both stock and bond prices should move higher (bond yields lower) in the absence of a more aggressive Fed,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

A separate report released by the Institute for Supply Management showed a bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity in the month of October.

The ISM…



2023-11-03 11:05:40

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