Wall Street inches higher; jobs data points to economic strength | Reuters
By Caroline Valetkevitch U.S. stocks were up slightly on Friday afternoon after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic economy and supported expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.The S&P 500 was still on track to end down for the week, which would break its six-week streak of gains.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 signalled 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
U.S. stocks were up slightly on Friday afternoon after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic economy and supported expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.The S&P 500 was still on track to end down for the week, which would break its six-week streak of gains.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 signalled 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.The S&P financial index .SPSY, which has risen sharply on prospect of further rate hikes, was down 0.1 percent on Friday, though.
Investors are preparing for the next hike, but "we think a lot that has already been priced in," said Eric Marshall, portfolio manager and Director of Research at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, Texas.With inflation edging closer to the Fed's 2 percent target, traders were pricing in a 92 percent chance of a rate increase at the Fed Open Market Committee's meeting next week, up from 85 percent before the data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 34.32 points, or 0.16 percent, to 20,892.51, the S&P 500 .SPX had gained 5.11 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,369.98 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC had added 14.65 points, or 0.25 percent, to 5,853.46.
The Nasdaq was also on track to break a six-week winning streak. Friday marked the 50th day of Donald Trump's U.S. presidency. Since he took office, the Dow has broken above 21,000 points and the S&P 500 has crossed $20 trillion in market value on bets he would usher in an era of tax cuts, simpler regulations and higher infrastructure spending.
Still, the lack of detail on Trump's plans has raised questions about valuations and tempered the post-election rally. AbbVie (ABBV.N) rose 2.5 percent and provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 after Goldman Sachs issued an upbeat report on the drugmaker.Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.68-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.The S&P 500 posted 40 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 78 new highs and 30 new lows. (Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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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.