U.S. Stocks Advance as Jobs Report Shows Wages Improving

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U.S. stocks climbed Friday after February data showed U.S. employers posted the best back-to-back monthly increase in payrolls since July and as bonds rallied.

The S&P 500 Index climbed 0.3 percent to 2,372.61 at 4 p.m. in New York. The benchmark fell 0.4% on the week, snapping its longest run of gains since November 2015 amid higher bond yields. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 20,902.98.

  • Materials shares pared earlier gains as Bloomberg Commodity Index reversed, falling for fifth straight day
  • Utility stocks and telephone shares advanced as bonds strengthened for first time in 10 sessions
  • Energy shares inched lower as oil dropped for fifth straight day
  • VIX down for first time this week, back below 12 at 11.66
  • About 6.8 billion shares traded hands on U.S. exchanges
    • U.S. employers added jobs at an above-average pace in February for a second month on outsized gains in construction and manufacturing while wage growth picked up, as the labor market continued its steady improvement in the new year
      • The 235,000 increase followed a 238,000 rise in January that was more than previously estimated
    • Traders are betting on a certain Federal Reserve rate hike on March 15
  • U.S. stocks are getting ahead of themselves and a correction might be around the corner, Michael Aflalo, chief investment officer of BFT Investment Managers, said in an interview: “The global macro backdrop is undoubtedly robust, but the equity market, and especially U.S. stocks, is priced for perfection. We need a pullback to shake things up and create good entry points again”
    • No S&P 500 earnings after market Friday or Monday
  • In Europe, stocks trimmed earlier gains, ending little changed after people familiar with the matter said the European Central Bank discussed whether interest rates can rise before its bond-buying program comes to an end
    • Stoxx Europe 600 Index added less than 0.1% at 4:11 p.m. in London, paring its weekly drop to 0.6%

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