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US STOCKS-Wall St shrugs off jobs report to hit records as tech leads
June 2, 2017 / 6:37 PM / 6 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St shrugs off jobs report to hit records as tech leads

* May nonfarm payrolls up by 138,000 vs 185,000 expected

* Unemployment rate falls to 4.3 pct from 4.4 pct in April

* Industrials, tech lead; energy sector lags

* Dow up 0.36 pct, S&P 500 up 0.37 pct, Nasdaq up 0.90 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, June 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced to record levels for a second straight session on Friday as a lukewarm jobs report was offset by gains in industrial and technology stocks.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 138,000 in May, well short of the 185,000 expected by economists. The prior two months were revised lower by 66,000 jobs than previously reported.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in May, following a similar gain in April, but the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.

Despite the disappointing data, market participants still largely anticipate the Federal Reserve to raise rates at its June 13-14 meeting, with traders expecting a 90.7-percent chance of a quarter-point hike, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“I wouldn’t say the data is supportive of hiking but they are on a path and they are not going to change that path, at least in June,” said Jim Tierney, Chief Investment Officer of Concentrated US Growth at AllianceBernstein in New York.

“Stocks are at an all-time high and to a degree stocks are ignoring some of the short term data points.”

The modest increase, however, could raise concerns about the economy’s health after gross domestic product growth slowed in the first quarter and a string of softening data this week, including reports on housing and auto sales.

The economy needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. Job gains are slowing as the labor market nears full employment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 76.58 points, or 0.36 percent, to 21,220.76, the S&P 500 gained 9.05 points, or 0.37 percent, to 2,439.11 and the Nasdaq Composite added 56.11 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,302.94.

Industrials, up 0.87 percent, and technology , up 0.92 percent, were the best performing sectors. The tech sector has been the top performer among the major S&P sectors, with a 2017 gain of 21.13 percent.

The tech sector was led by Broadcom, which rose more than 8 percent to hit an all-time high of $253.76, after the chipmaker’s quarterly results beat analysts’ expectations.

Shares of financials, which benefit from higher interest rates, fell as much as 0.9 percent after the jobs data raised concerns the Fed could become cautious after the June meeting, before recovering to trade flat.

Energy was the worst performing sector, down 1.29 percent as Brent oil tumbled below $50 a barrel, on worries that President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon a climate pact could spark more crude drilling in the United States and worsen a global glut.

Lululemon Athletica jumped 12.4 percent to $54.70 after the athletic apparel maker’s quarterly profit beat estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.48-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.33-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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