NEW YORK Stocks on Wall Street edged up on Friday on better-than-expected U.S. jobs and factory data, suggesting stronger corporate earnings ahead, but a gloomy manufacturing report in Japan knocked other global equity markets lower and crude oil prices fell.
European shares pared losses and U.S. stocks rose on reports that showed U.S. employment increased solidly in March and manufacturing activity expanded last month for the first time in six months on a surge in new orders.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 215,000 and the unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent from an eight-year low of 4.9 percent, the U.S. Labor Department said. The jobless rate rose as more people continued to seek work, a sign of confidence in the jobs market.
Still, economists see limited impact on U.S. monetary policy in the near-term from the data after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's remarks earlier in the week indicated she favored a cautious stance toward interest rate hikes this year.
"If the economy is getting stronger and Yellen remains on hold, that's very good for the stock market because that theoretically is inflationary," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 46.16 points, or 0.26 percent, to 17,731.25. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.88 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,063.62 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 23.07 points, or 0.47 percent, to 4,892.92.
Oil futures fell about 4 percent to below $39 per barrel, with the market growing increasingly skeptical that a looming deal to freeze crude production can help clear a global glut.
Saudi Arabia will freeze its oil output only if Iran and other major producers do so, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in an interview.
Brent crude for June delivery LCOc1 fell $1.58 to $38.75 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 fell $1.42 to $36.92 a barrel.
A gloomy Japanese manufacturing report kept a damper on global equity markets. Business sentiment among Japan's big manufacturers deteriorated to the lowest in nearly three years and is expected to worsen in the coming quarter, a closely watched central bank survey showed on Friday.
The survey heightened pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan to do more to shore up the ailing economy.
"Money is waiting to see for one of these finance ministers to make a decision," said Adam Karrlsson-Willis, vice president of European equity trading at the broker-dealer unit of INTL FCStone Financial Inc in Winter Park, Florida. "There’s been a lot of inaction right now."
Japanese stocks tumbled 3.6 percent to a one-month low.
Shares in Europe also slid to a one-month low, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 closing down 1.5 percent at 1,306.69.
MSCI's all-country world stock index .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.69 percent.
The U.S. dollar rebounded against a basket of currencies from more than five-month lows on Thursday. The stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs and factory data boosted expectations for a less dovish Federal Reserve.
The dollar index .DXY was last at 94.607 after hitting a session low of 94.334.
The euro EUR= turned negative against the greenback and hit a session low of $1.1335 after the data.
The dollar was last down 0.28 percent against the yen JPY= at 112.25 yen.
The U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note US10YT=RR rose 3/32 in price to yield 1.7722 percent.
Germany's benchmark 10-year Bund DE10YT=TWEB yield fell near this year's low, pinned down by weak equity markets and as a bigger European Central Bank's bond-buying program came into force. The Bund's yield lost 1.9 basis points to 0.14 percent.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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Updated Date: Apr 01, 2016 23:30 PM