Wall Street Shrugs Off Weak December Jobs Data, Extends Gains

Wall Street Shrugs Off Weak December Jobs Data, Extends Gains

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent in December, lifting the annual increase in wages to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent in November.

“The market is shrugging it off because it’s not weak enough to detract the Fed from raising rates further. The modest rise in average hourly wage number should give the Fed some breathing room,” said Bryce Doty, senior portfolio manager, SIT Fixed Income Advisors LLC, Minneapolis.

Traders of U.S. short-term interest-rate futures continued to bet the Fed would raise interest rates just two times this year, heavily pricing in a March rate hike.

At 12:39 p.m. ET (1739 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 84.64 points, or 0.34 percent, at 25,159.77 and the S&P 500 was up 8.69 points, or 0.32 percent, at 2,732.68. The Nasdaq Composite was up 41.59 points, or 0.59 percent, at 7,119.51.

“It’s going to take more than employment number that is to the weaker side (to bring the market lower),” said Mark Heppenstall, chief investment officer at Penn Mutual Asset Management in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

Technology index’s 0.77 percent gain led the advancers among the 11 major S&P sectors.

A more than 1 percent rise in Microsoft, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet boosted the index.

Energy index declined 0.56 percent as oil prices pulled away from their 2015 highs on soaring U.S. production. [O/R]

Francesca’s Holdings tanked 20 percent after the women’s apparel and accessories maker said it expected up to 17 percent decline in current-quarter same-store sales.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,435 to 1,377. On the Nasdaq, 1,497 issues rose and 1,380 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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