December 5, 2023

Wall Street Jumps on Jobs Data; Oil Falls More

The government, in its latest snapshot on employment, said the economy added 244,000 jobs overall last month, well above the 185,000 jobs that analysts had forecast. Private employers created 268,000 jobs , the report said.

The unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent from 8.8 percent in part because it counted more people who resumed looking for work.

Indexes jumped sharply Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising 134.25 points, or 1.1 percent. The broader Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 12.95 or 0.97 percent, while the technology heavy Nasdaq rose 35.20, or 1.25 percent.

Wall Street indexes had fallen by 2 percent this week because of increasing worries that the economy was not growing as quickly as previously thought. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added fewer jobs than expected in April.

“Recent U.S. data has pointed to a slowdown in U.S. economic activity so jobs growth above expectations was a surprise,” said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

Shares were also higher in Europe, where the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.5 percent, and the DAX in Frankfurt added 1.27 percent. In Paris, the CAC 40 gained 1.3 percent.

Crude oil in New York trading was down another 29 cents, to 99.51 a barrel, after dropping $9.44 a barrel, or 8.6 percent on Thursday during a rapid sell-off of commodities.

Friday also marked the one-year anniversary of the “Flash Crash.” Stocks tumbled that day when one large trade overwhelmed the market’s computer servers and sent prices in a tailspin.

Berkshire Hathaway and Fannie Mae are among the companies reporting quarterly results by the end of the day.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slid 1.5 percent to 9,859.20. Investors worried about the renewed strength in the yen and its impact on exporters, which are already struggling with destroyed factories, severe parts shortages and power outages since a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.4 percent to 23,159.14. Mainland Chinese shares were mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent to 2,863.89, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 1,195.31.

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