Wall Street ends up; jobs data points to economic strength | Reuters
By Caroline Valetkevitch | NEW YORK NEW YORK U.S. stocks rose on Friday after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic economy and supported expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.Indexes ended lower for the week, however, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq breaking a six-week streak of gains.Government data showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in February, far exceeding economists' average estimate of 190,000.Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week the U.S. central bank is set to raise rates this month if employment and other economic data hold up.
By Caroline Valetkevitch
| NEW YORK
NEW YORK U.S. stocks rose on Friday after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic economy and supported expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.Indexes ended lower for the week, however, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq breaking a six-week streak of gains.Government data showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in February, far exceeding economists' average estimate of 190,000.Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week the U.S. central bank is set to raise rates this month if employment and other economic data hold up. The Fed meets March 14-15.With inflation edging up closer to the Fed's 2 percent target, traders were pricing in a 92 percent chance of a rate increase at the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting next week, up from 85 percent before the data. Gains were broad-based, though the utilities index .SPLRCU, which fell sharply earlier in the week and lost 1.2 percent for the period, was the day's best-performing sector, ending up 0.8 percent.At the same time, the S&P financial index .SPSY, which has risen sharply on prospects of further rate hikes, ended flat, and strategists said the market has likely already priced in a March rate move.
"The strong (payrolls) number was a welcome surprise. It was a confirmation labor markets are holding up," said Jeffrey Kravetz, regional investment director at the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank."The reaction is not huge because the market was expecting a good number."The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI ended up 44.79 points, or 0.21 percent, at 20,902.98, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 7.73 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,372.6 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 22.92 points, or 0.39 percent, to 5,861.73.For the week, the Dow was down 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 was down 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.2 percent.
Friday marked the 50th day of Donald Trump's U.S. presidency. Since he took office, the Dow has broken above 21,000 and the S&P 500 has crossed $20 trillion in market value on bets he would usher in tax cuts, simpler regulations and higher infrastructure spending.Still, the lack of detail on Trump's plans and other issues have helped temper the post-election rally, along with valuations that some consider lofty."In the short term we're a little bit cautious (in stocks) because valuations are stretched. But as long as the economic data keeps improving and without inflation being an issue, any weakness becomes an opportunity to add (to equity longs)," said Sameer Samana, global quantitative and technical strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St Louis.
Shares of U.S. hospital operators fell a day after the Republican plan backed by Trump to overhaul Obamacare cleared its first hurdles in Congress. While passage of the bill remains uncertain, some analysts believe the bill will go through. Tenet Healthcare (THC.N) shares fell 5.3 percent.Finisar Corp (FNSR.O) shares fell 22.7 percent after the network equipment maker gave disappointing revenue and profit forecasts for the current quarter.Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.04-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.39-to-1 ratio favored advancers.The S&P 500 posted 42 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 36 new lows.About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, close to the 7.0 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York and Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.