By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks were off session highs on Friday after a solid jobs report virtually sealed the deal for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week, and potentially set the course for an aggressive tightening path this year.Data showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in February, far exceeding economists' average estimate of 190,000.With inflation edging closer to the Fed's 2 percent target, traders are now 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. 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."Investors are looking at the jobs report and they maybe thinking that the Fed could be poised to move four times this year," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. Indeed, Goldman Sachs economists said they expect the Fed to raise rates in March - which would be the first for the year - and they now see the next hike in June rather than in September.
At 12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 28.17 points, or 0.14 percent, at 20,886.36, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.98 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,370.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 16.33 points, or 0.28 percent, at 5,855.13.Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with technology .SPLRCT providing the biggest boost. High-dividend paying real estate .SPLRCR bucked the trend.
"There was an initial knee-jerk reaction to the upside and I think things are cooling down a little bit," said from Myles Clouston, senior director at Nasdaq Advisory Services in New York.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 and taken the heat off the post-election rally.
Despite Friday's gains, the S&P and the Nasdaq are on track to break a six-week winning streak. Among stocks, AbbVie (ABBV.N) rose 2.9 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 20 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 1,730 to 1,136. On the Nasdaq, 1,637 issues rose and 1,111 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 39 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 74 new highs and 24 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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Updated Date: Mar 11, 2017 00:00:08 IST