- US equities rose on Friday after disappointing labor-market data boosted hopes for an end-of-year stimulus compromise.
- The US added 245,000 nonfarm payrolls in November, handily missing the consensus economist estimate of 460,000 additions. The unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9% and met forecasts.
- Though the data suggests the nation’s economic recovery is slowing, some see it as raising the chances of a near-term stimulus deal.
- “Today’s report is beckoning lawmakers to act on additional fiscal stimulus measures,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, said. “The longer they hold out the wider the gap may become.”
- Watch major indexes update live here.
US stocks gained on Friday after worse-than-expected November jobs data lifted hopes for a near-term stimulus deal.
The country added 245,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a much higher reading of 460,000 additions. The total also marked a drop from the revised 610,000 jobs added in October.
The US unemployment rate dipped to 6.7 from 6.9%, meeting economist forecasts. The rate has fallen steadily from the 14.7% peak seen in the spring, but the pace of recovery has slowed significantly in recent months.
Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET market open on Friday:
- S&P 500: 3,677.46, up 0.3%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 30,056.98, up 0.3% (87 points)
- Nasdaq composite: 12,386.81, up 0.1%
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Though the data surprised to the downside, it spurred new optimism for a stimulus compromise to be reached before the end of the year. Democrat and Republican lawmakers have warmed to a $908 billion proposal throughout the week, marking the first major step forward in stimulus efforts after months of gridlock.
The package could aid the US economy through new funding for small businesses, state and local governments, and expanded federal unemployment benefits.
“Today’s report is beckoning lawmakers to act on additional fiscal stimulus measures in order to bridge the output gap in the economy until a vaccine is deployed,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, said, adding that “the longer they hold out the wider the gap may become.”
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Gains come after a mixed Thursday session that placed the Nasdaq composite at record highs. Stocks wavered into the close after The Wall Street Journal reported Pfizer cut its vaccine distribution target due to supply-chain issues. The news pulled the S&P 500 into a loss, while the Dow and Nasdaq composite posted mild gains.
The disappointing jobs report comes as COVID-19 cases continue to climb and threaten a dire winter. The US reported 210,161 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the 7-day average to 173,227, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations neared 101,000 and deaths exceeded 267,000.
Bitcoin dipped below $19,000 Friday morning before hovering around $19,100. The cryptocurrency has retraced most of its Tuesday losses, but it remains far from retaking the $19,920 record notched on Monday.
Spot gold edged 0.4% higher, to $1,848.21 per ounce, before paring gains. The US dollar weakened against an index of Group-of-20 currencies and Treasury yields rose.
Oil rallied after OPEC+ ruled to cautiously lift production by 500,000 barrels per day starting in January. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 2.3%, to $46.68 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose 2.4%, to $49.86 per barrel, at intraday highs.
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