US stocks edge higher on a stronger-than-expected jobs report, oil prices continue to fall

  • The US economy added a stronger-than-expected 235,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 per cent from 4.8 per cent in the previous month. Average hourly earnings rose 2.8 per cent from a year earlier, up from 2.6 per cent in January. The February job growth report clears the path for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by a quarter-point at its two-day policy meeting next week.
  • The yield on the monetary-policy sensitive 2-year US Treasury note was down 2 basis points at 1.36 per cent. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield fell 3 basis points to 2.57 per cent. The 10-year German Bund yield was up 6 basis points at 0.49 per cent.
  • Meanwhile, the dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of peers, was down 0.6 per cent at 101.21. The euro was up 1.1 per cent against the dollar at $1.0688. The greenback was 0.2 per cent lower versus the yen at Ұ114.73. The UK pound rose 0.1 per cent against the dollar to $1.2174. The Norwegian krone was 1.1 per cent weaker, at 9.1750 per euro, after data showed that consumer prices rose 2.5 per cent in February from a year earlier, down from a 2.8 per cent rise in January, leaving the inflation rate at the central bank’s target.
  • A plunge in oil prices continued amid renewed concerns about a global supply glut (US crude inventories hit a record high last week). Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was down 1.6 per cent at 51.36 dollar per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate, the US oil marker, settled at 48.44 dollars a barrel, down 1.7 per cent, the lowest since November.
  • The S&P 500 equity index inched up 0.3 per cent to 2,372.60, but was down 0.4 per cent for the week weighed by energy and real-estate shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.2 per cent higher at 20,902.98. The blue-chip index slipped 0.5 per cent this week. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4 per cent to 5,861.73, but notched a weekly decline of 0.2 per cent.
  • Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.6 per cent higher. China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.1 per cent. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.1 per cent. The UK’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.4 per cent.
  • photo: Tim Evanson / CC BY-SA 2.0

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