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U.S. Stocks Log Biggest Gain in Over Three Weeks: Markets Wrap

Updated on
  • Dollar gains, Tresuries flat; gold, West Texas crude rise
  • Emerging market currencies flag; European equities rally
U.S. payrolls rose in April by 164,000 while the jobless rate fell to 3.9%. Bloomberg’s Katia Dmitrieva reports.

U.S. stocks logged their biggest advance in almost four weeks after the country’s jobless rate hit an 18-year low. The dollar finished higher while Treasury yields flattened out as the market assessed the impact of America’s inconclusive trade talks with China.

The S&P 500 Index closed higher Friday but failed to recoup its losses for the week. Apple Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. were among the benchmark’s biggest advancers as the tech and financial sectors led the charge.

U.S. hiring rebounded less than anticipated in April but the unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent for the first time since 2000. Wage gains unexpectedly cooled, suggesting the job market still has slack to absorb. The report’s implications for monetary policy will be eyed after the Federal Reserve kept rates on hold this week, saying inflation is near its target without suggesting any need to accelerate its hiking path.

“This was a really solid number -- it shows all the job growth that the economy needs without wages picking up, which would be detrimental to margins,” Sameer Samana, global technical and equity strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said by phone. “It should all be supportive of further consumption, which should keep the economy going at a very steady pace without inflation being a major issue, which historically has been very good for investments.”

Markets were also following talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing intently for signs that the world’s two biggest economies are making progress on trade, but there’s been limited advancement so far. U.S. officials asked China to bring forward reductions in its trade surplus, raising the hurdle for any overarching deal, while state-run news agency Xinhua said the two parties agreed on some issues but disagreed on others.

Health-care and technology companies led gains in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as the euro slipped amid mounting concern about the region’s economic outlook. Financials recovered some earlier losses incurred after disappointing earnings reports from BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale SA and HSBC Holdings Plc. Stocks from Sydney to Hong Kong retreated earlier. Core European bonds declined.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s lira continued its descent on Friday, hitting a record low against the dollar amid concern that monetary policy remains too loose to deal with an overheating economy. Most emerging-market currencies declined against the greenback.

West Texas oil hit a three-year high as traders weighed an increase in stockpiles against concern about U.S. sanctions on Iran. Gold gained.

Terminal users can read more in our markets live blog.

Some key events coming up during the remainder of this week:

  • Berkshire Hathaway holds its annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index gained 1.3 percent as of 3:25 p.m. New York time
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.6 percent.
  • The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.9 percent.
  • Germany’s DAX Index jumped 1 percent.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained less than 0.05 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2 percent.
  • The euro dipped 0.3 percent to $1.1957.
  • The British pound decreased 0.3 percent to $1.3535, its eighth straight decline.
  • The Japanese yen gained 0.1 percent to 109.10 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell less than one basis point to 2.94 percent.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield advanced one basis point to 0.54 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield gained one basis point to 1.4 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude increased 1.9 percent to $69.76 a barrel, the highest in more than three years.
  • Gold gained 0.2 percent to $1,314.41 an ounce.
  • LME copper declined less than 0.05 to $6,826 a metric ton.

— With assistance by Adam Haigh, Katia Dmitrieva, and Joe Easton

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