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GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil rises on Syria attack, dollar shrugs off jobs report
April 7, 2017 / 4:12 PM / 7 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil rises on Syria attack, dollar shrugs off jobs report

(Adds U.S. market open, dateline, byline; previous LONDON)

* Jobs report surprises but viewed as weather related

* Oil rises after U.S. attacks Syria air base

* Europe stocks rise, Wall Street trades flat

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, April 7 (Reuters) - Oil traded near a one-month high on Friday after the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base while the dollar rose as investors dismissed a weak U.S. jobs report as not enough to derail a strong economy or outlook for rising interest rates.

The toughest U.S. action in Syria’s six-year-old civil war raised geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East and initially hit assets such as equities and oil. Gold, a safe-haven asset, climbed to a five-month high and benchmark U.S. Treasury yields briefly slid to four-month lows.

U.S. crude rose 51 cents to $52.21 a barrel and Brent was last up 39 cents to $55.28.

Spot gold added 1.2 percent to $1,265.70 an ounce.

Investors still expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates twice more in 2017 as the unemployment rate in the jobs report declined to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent in February.

“As long as we see the unemployment rate decline, we will see more rate hikes,” said Cathy Barrera, chief economic adviser at ZipRecuiter in New York.

News of the U.S. cruise missile strikes on the Syrian air base at first sent global stocks lower, but most losses were pared after U.S. officials described the attack as a one-off event that would not lead to wider escalation.

Stock market indexes rebounded to close higher in Europe and traded flat on Wall Street where a dismal U.S. jobs reports gave investors a reason to pause.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 98,000 jobs last month, the fewest since last May, the Labor Department said. A major snow storm dubbed Stella in the Northeast during the week in March of the employment survey led to a step-down in hiring.

“Our thinking is that there is nothing wrong with the labor market, other than the timing of Stella,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York.

U.S. corporate profits for the first quarter will be up 9 percent to 10 percent from a year earlier, and give the market a lift when earnings season begins next week, he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.06 points, or 0.01 percent, to 20,661.89. The S&P 500 lost 0.89 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,356.6 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.26 points, or 0.09 percent, to 5,873.69.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.11 percent to close at a provisional 1,501.61, while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06 percent.

The drop in the unemployment rate suggested the labor market was still tightening and does not change the outlook for bonds.

U.S. 10- and seven-year yields briefly hit 2.269 percent and 2.072 percent, respectively, their lowest since Nov. 18, 2016. U.S. 30-year yields touched 2.939 percent, their lowest since mid-January.

“There was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to the headline,” said Mark Cabana, head of U.S. short rates strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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