Stellar jobs data pushes US stocks to new records

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Blockbuster job creation helped push US stocks to new records on Friday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq smashing through the 16 000 point level for the first time.

The US economy added a better-than-expected 531 000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%, Labor Department data showed, as Covid-19 infections decline across the country.

"When you add in the big upward revisions to August and September's job numbers, this is a blockbuster," said Jay Mawji, managing director of the global liquidity provider IX Prime.

Revisions to both months indicated hiring was 235 000 higher than first reported.

"With America's resurgent economy piling on well over half a million new jobs in October alone, we're firmly in boom territory," Mawji said.

The jobs report sent Wall Street stocks higher at the opening bell, with all three main indices immediately streaking to all-time records.

European stocks were also higher in afternoon trading, with the benchmark Paris CAC 40 index breaching the 7,000-point for the first time, while Frankfurt's DAX was in striking distance of an all-time high.

London stocks rose 0.5%, aided also by the weak pound a day after the Bank of England unexpectedly held UK interest rates.

The sliding pound boosts the share prices of London-listed multinationals earning in dollars.

Global equities rose this week after the Federal Reserve finally announced its plan for tapering the vast bond-buying programme, which has provided crucial support since it was put in place at the start of the pandemic.

The news removed a lot of uncertainty about officials' response to a pick-up in inflation that is expected to last a lot longer than previously thought.

The indication by the Fed that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates also helped boost stocks.

Earlier, Asian bourses were mixed, however.

The BoE's decision not to lift rates has shocked traders following recent hints by chief Andrew Bailey that the central bank was ready to do so.

While its board signalled a rise was still on the cards in the coming months, there were questions about how quickly the financial leaders would tighten policy, with forecasts for the Fed's own hiking timeline also put back.

Bond yields, which indicate future pricing for interest rates, sank and raised concerns about further uncertainty, particularly as inflation remains doggedly high owing to supply chain snarls, high commodity prices and wage growth.

That has fuelled talk of a period of stagflation when prices surge, but economic growth stalls.

"Rates are a global market," said Subadra Rajappa, at Societe Generale.

"Global central banks seem to be pushing back on market expectations for aggressive policy action."

Oil climbed after OPEC and other major producers stuck to their plan to modestly lift output despite surging demand, while the dollar advanced.

Key figures around 1330 GMT

  • New York - Dow: UP 0.5% at 36 320.55 points
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4% at 7 309.54
  • Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.2% at 16 066.44
  • Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.0% at 7 056.60
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9% at 4 371.99
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6% at 25 611.57 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.4% at 24 870.51 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.0% at 3 491.57 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1524 from $1.1554 at 2100 GMT Thursday
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3472 from $1.3500
  • Euro/pound: UP at 85.60 pence from 85.59 pence
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.58 from 113.76 yen
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.1 percent at $81.41 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.5 percent at $79.95 per barrel

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