New York (AFP) – Wall Street stocks powered higher Friday after a mixed US jobs report was seen as reducing the odds of faster Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
US stocks initially went sideways following the jobs data but began moving gradually higher after the open, with the Dow ultimately finishing up a solid 1.4 percent.
Earlier, European stock markets rose, while oil prices pushed higher on speculation President Donald Trump will spike the Iran nuclear deal.
The US economy added 164,000 jobs in April, which was below expectations. But the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest since December 2000.
Investors were cheered by signs inflation pressures remained tame, as average hourly wages rose just 0.2 percent. That figure was seen as reducing the odds the Federal Reserve will accelerate interest rate hikes.
“We don’t see anything suggesting the Fed needs to be more aggressive with monetary policy and nothing to stop them from continuing to normalize it,” said Matt Miskin, market strategist at John Hancock Financial Services.
– ‘Frank discussions’ on trade –
Despite Friday’s rally, Miskin predicted stocks would “remain against the ropes” due in part to lingering uncertainty over international trade.
High-stakes talks between top US and Chinese officials ended Friday in Beijing without major breakthroughs.
“Both sides recognize there are still big differences on some issues and that they need to continue to step up their work to make progress,” China said in a statement released by the official Xinhua state news agency.
A White House statement said the two sides held “frank discussions” and that “there is consensus within the administration that immediate attention is needed to bring changes to United States–China trade and investment relationship.”
A note from Barclays downplayed worries about a trade war, saying “unless the US-China trade negotiations break down, we think the effects of these tariffs on world trade are likely to be modest.”
Oil prices continued to advance ahead of a May 12 deadline for Trump to announce whether he will pull out of a 2015 deal on Iranian nuclear development.
Among individual companies, Apple shot up 3.9 percent after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought an additional 75 million shares of the technology giant, lifting Berkshire’s overall stake to around five percent.
Tesla Motors gained 3.4 percent after chief executive Elon Musk said on Twitter that sharp questioning by equity analysts on a Wednesday conference call came from those allied with investors who bet against Tesla shares. But Musk also said it was “foolish” not to respond to the questions.
Tesla shares had fallen sharply on Thursday after Musk was criticized for cutting off and belittling analysts who pressed for more details on company finances. The two analysts who were cut off have a “hold” recommendation on Tesla shares.
– Key figures around 2100 GMT –
New York – Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 24,262.51 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 1.3 percent at 2,663.42 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.7 percent at 7,209.62 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,567.14 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.0 percent at 12,819.60 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,516.05 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,547.38 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.3 percent at 29,926.50 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,091.03 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holiday
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1957 from $1.1988 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3534 from $1.3575
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.08 yen from 109.19
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP $1.25 at $74.87 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.29 at $69.72 per barrel