By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks rose on Friday after a solid jobs report underscored the strength of the labor market and set the stage for the first interest rate hike this year. A drop in oil prices, however, tempered the broader market gains.Data showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in February, far exceeding economists' average estimate of 190,000.Job creation "is clearly running well ahead of the around-75,000-a-month pace that is consistent with stable labor resource utilization," JPMorgan chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli wrote in a note to clients. "This fact hasn't escaped the Fed, and today's number easily clears the very low hurdle for the Fed to hike rates next week."Traders have priced in a 92 percent chance of a rate increase at the Federal Reserve's meeting next week, encouraged by a strong labor market and a pick up in inflation.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen's conference on March 15 following the two-day meeting will be closely watched for clues on the pace of future rate hikes.At 10:55 a.m. ET (1555 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 21.63 points, or 0.1 percent, at 20,879.82, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 6.11 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,370.98 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 20.86 points, or 0.36 percent, at 5,859.66.Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with technology .SPLRCT providing the biggest boost. Energy .SPNY slipped 0.3 percent on the back of a 0.6 percent slide in oil prices.
In the 49 days of Donald Trump's presidency, the Dow has broken above 21,000 points and the S&P 500 has crossed $20 trillion in market value on bets that 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, taken the heat off the post-election rally and kept safe-haven gold in demand.The S&P and the Nasdaq are on track to break a six-week winning streak.
Among stocks, AbbVie (ABBV.N) rose 2.5 percent and provided the biggest boost to the S&P after Goldman Sachs issued an upbeat report on the drugmaker. Finisar Corp (FNSR.O), was the biggest percentage loser on the Nasdaq, with a 19 percent decline after the network equipment maker gave disappointing revenue and profit forecasts for the current quarter.Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,807 to 986. On the Nasdaq, 1,739 issues rose and 898 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 37 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 17 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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Updated Date: Mar 10, 2017 23:45 PM