Global stocks, oil jump on US job gains, Europe optimism
NEW YORK, Aug 4 — World stocks rallied, US oil jumped nearly 5 per cent and the euro surged on Friday on news US employers increased hiring in July by the most in five months and on renewed optimism that Europe was closer to action on its debt crisis.
Investors took a second look at Thursday's statement by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and concluded that help was on the way, even though it would take more time than many hoped.
The US jobs report showed stronger-than-expected hiring but also a rise in the unemployment rate to 8.3 per cent, which keeps alive the hope of further support for the economy from the Federal Reserve.
The jobs data came at the end of a volatile week, packed with Fed and ECB policy meetings that disappointed those hoping for more aid for the US economy and Europe's debt-stricken nations.
The news dispelled some investors' worst fears about the economy, said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York.
"People got very worried over the last weeks … but it looks like the US economy is not falling off the face of the earth."
The euro rose as high as US$1.2392 (RM3.8737) on Reuters data and was last up 1.6 per cent at US$1.2370. The dollar gained 0.5 per cent against the yen, to 78.60 yen, after hitting a two-week high of 78.77, according to Reuters data.
The ECB indicated on Thursday it may start buying government bonds again to reduce crippling borrowing costs for Spain and Italy, but Draghi hinted that any intervention would not come before September.
"A lot of market participants began to rethink yesterday's ECB statement and look at it from a more positive perspective. Overall, a lot of investors thought, 'maybe it's not as bad as it originally sounded,'" said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
Spain inched closer to seeking a sovereign bailout on Friday, but Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he needed first to know the conditions as well as the form any European Union rescue would take.
The MSCI world equity index was last up 1.9 per cent. European shares ended 2.5 per cent higher.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rallied to its highest level since early May. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 217.29 points, or 1.69 per cent, at 13,096.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 25.99 points, or 1.90 per cent, at 1,390.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 58.13 points, or 2.00 per cent, at 2,967.90.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday sent a stronger signal that a new round of major support could be on the way if the recovery did not pick up.
In the oil market, NYMEX September crude settled at US$91.40 a barrel, jumping 4.9 per cent, front-month crude's biggest one-day gain since June 29. The unexpectedly strong US jobs growth in July sparked upbeat sentiment on the oil demand outlook.
Brent crude rose US$3.04, or 2.87 per cent, to settle at US$108.94.
Gold also climbed, with spot gold up 0.9 per cent at US$1,604.10 an ounce.
US Treasury prices fell as benchmark yields flirted with their highest levels in a month after a better-than-expected domestic jobs report spurred investors to reduce safe-haven holdings of US government debt.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were 25/32 lower in price at 101-21/32 for a yield of 1.565 per cent, up 9 basis points from late on Thursday.
The day's other US data showed the pace of growth in the vast US services sector edged up in July as new orders gained traction. — Reuters