Friday, August 5, 2016
U.S. equities traded sharply higher on Friday as Wall Street digested a better-than-expected jobs report.
“The big takeaway, for me, is the market is doing exactly what it needs to move higher,” said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital. “We’re now getting confirmation about what the Fed has been telling; that the economy is going to pick up in the second half.”
The Dow Jones industrial average briefly traded 150 points higher in mid-morning and was positive for the week. Merck contributed the lion’s share of the gains on the Dow, followed by Goldman Sachs.
The S&P 500 advanced about 0.66 percent, with financials rising about 1.5 percent, and hit a new all-time intraday high. The Nasdaq gained approximately 1 percent and briefly traded above its all-time closing high.
The U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs in July, well above the expected 180,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent.
“It was a pretty good number,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income. “This is another data point that supports the thesis that the labor market is improving” after a sluggish first half.
“It’s the second consecutive month where economists have been surprised,” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, noting the labor market has now seen expansion for 85 months, the largest expansion since the 1990s.
However, Mike Wachholz, President of Pontoon, said “I think we’ve reached terminal velocity,” adding he finds it difficult for the labor market to keep up this pace since businesses are under pressure to make the right hiring decisions, and “they know they have limited bullets in the chamber.”
Investors kept a close eye on the report, as it may prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy sooner rather than later. Still, Piegza said the report “does seem to be a bit at odds with other data points,” particularly the most-recent U.S. GDP growth number.
Market expectations for a September rate hike are just 18 percent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
Meanwhile, the oil markets took a breather after two straight days of solid gains, with U.S. crude trading 1.48 percent lower at $41.31 a barrel. Weekly rig count data from Baker Hughes is due at 1 p.m.
U.S. Treasurys erased slight gains after the jobs report release, with with two-year note yield holding near 0.71 percent and the benchmark 10-year yield around 1.56 percent.
“The risk is to the upside in yields,” said Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab. “I’m actually surprised the short end of the curve didn’t move higher.”
The dollar rose sharply against a basket of currencies, with the euro near $1.107 and the yen around 101.8.
Earnings season began winding down Friday, with Allianz and Novo Nordisk, among others posting results before the bell.
Overseas, European markets rose broadly, with the Stoxx 600 index advancing about 1 percent. Asian markets were mixed, with the Nikkei 225 closing flat and the Shanghai composite slipping 0.19 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average traded 151 points higher, or 0.82 percent, at 18,502, with Merck leading advancers and Verizon the top decliner.
The S&P 500 rose 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to trade at 2,179.75, with financials leading seven sectors higher and utilities the biggest laggard.
The Nasdaq rose 1 percent to 5,218.
About three stocks advanced for every decliner on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 152 million and a composite volume of 657 million.
The CBOE Volatility index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded lower, near 11.5.
Gold futures for December delivery fell $21.70 to $1,345.90.