NEW YORK Stock markets worldwide edged up on Friday, on pace for a fourth day of gains, as commodities prices firmed and strong U.S. jobs growth bolstered confidence in the global economy.
U.S. equity indexes advanced following February's jobs data, which showed strong growth in payrolls and an increase in labor-force participation, but a surprising decline in monthly wage growth.
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 242,000 jobs last month, beating forecasts for 190,000 new jobs, but wages dipped by 0.1 percent after a strong January 0.5 percent increase.
"It’s good news for the U.S. economy, but the lack of growth in wages suggests the Fed should be in no rush to hike," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 74.19 points, or 0.44 percent, to 17,018.09, moving above 17,000 for the first time since Jan. 6. The benchmark S&P 500 .SPX gained 8.89 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,002.29, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 16.80 points, or 0.36 percent, to 4,724.23.
Brazil's stock market rose to its highest in at least six months after police detained former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for questioning in an investigation of a bribery and money laundering scheme.
The Bovespa .BVSP gained 3 percent, though at its high it had posted a 6 percent gain.
"Today Lula was arrested; maybe this is helping Brazilian assets because of the idea that it will speed up the impeachment process (of President Dilma Rousseff)," said Guillaume Tresca, an emerging markets senior strategist of Credit Agricole in Paris.
"That is a very long process, but it could trigger political change and that is the only hope right now."
U.S. benchmark Treasuries saw yields rise, led by longer-dated securities, as the strong jobs figures fed expectations for better growth but the lackluster wage data was expected to keep any immediate Fed rate hikes at bay. The dollar was weaker against the euro and yen.
Treasury yields were bolstered by the strong overall numbers in the jobs report. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note US10YT=RR fell 13/32 in price to yield 1.88 percent.
The yield on the three-, five- and seven-year Treasuries were all trading near their highest in about a month after the payrolls data.
The U.S. dollar fell, as the decrease in wage growth added uncertainty about whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. Short-term rate indicators are pricing in one rate increase by next March.
“Because the wages data were weak, the market does not need to materially change its view on future Fed policy," said Shahab Jalinoos, global head of FX strategy at Credit Suisse in New York.
MSCI's global gauge of stocks .MIWD00000PUS was up 0.3 percent to a new eight-week high. Asian shares closed with their best week in five months and European stock markets were headed for a third week of gains.
Emerging markets rose more than 1 percent for the second straight day, with MSCI's emerging market stock metric .MSCIEF up 1.25 percent.
Crude oil futures were on pace to make a second straight 6 percent weekly jump. Benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 were up 0.5 percent to $37.27, a two-month high. U.S. crude CLc1 rose 0.2 percent to $34.63.
Iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI and copper CMCU3 both hit four-month highs.
(Addtional reporting by Anirban Nag; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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Updated Date: Mar 05, 2016 01:00 AM