GO
Loading...

GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar slides, shares rally after weak U.S. jobs data

Herbert Lash
Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 | 2:12 PM ET

* U.S. jobs come in at 148,000 vs 180,000 estimate

* Dollar falls to two-year low vs euro

* Expectations of Fed's continued bond buying boosts stocks

* Brent crude rises on news of U.S.-Saudi rift over Mideast

NEW YORK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The dollar slid to a two-year low against the euro and global equity markets rose for a fifth session on Tuesday after weak U.S. jobs data reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will keep its easy-money policy intact into 2014. The S&P 500, a benchmark for U.S. stocks, set an intraday record high, while U.S. Treasuries yields fell to the lowest levels in three months on the highly anticipated labor market report. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 148,000 in September, the Labor Department said in a report delayed by the 16-day shutdown of the federal government. The total was well below economists' estimates of 180,000 new jobs. Data for August was revised to show more positions created than previously reported, but revisions to the July figures showed employment gains that were the weakest since June 2012. Economists and market analysts said the tepid pace of U.S. job growth supported the decision by the Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee in September to not begin to pare its purchases of $85 billion a month in bonds to bolster the economy. "Today's underperforming jobs number fully justifies September's cautious FOMC," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. "Dollar bulls will be discomfited but equities will find the economic logic invigorating." Stocks rose on Wall Street, in Europe and elsewhere in the Americas after the jobs report. The euro jumped and the dollar index slipped, while government debt prices rose on both sides of the Atlantic, pushing yields lower. Equities later pared gains, and the technology-rich Nasdaq composite index briefly slipped into negative territory. MSCI's all-country stock index, which tracks stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.67 percent to levels last seen in January 2008. The FTSEurofirst 300 of leading European shares rose 0.54 percent to close at 1,288.06. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 68.35 points, or 0.44 percent, at 15,460.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 9.15 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,753.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.67 points, or 0.17 percent, at 3,926.71. The euro hit a high of $1.3792 against the dollar, its strongest level since Nov. 14, 2011, in early New York trading. It was last at $1.3788, up 0.78 percent. Against the yen, the dollar fell as low as 97.86 yen was last down 0.12 percent at 98.06 yen in choppy trade. The dollar index, a basket of six major trading currencies, was down 0.62 percent. "This really does push us into a January, February mode (for Fed tapering), and if there is a shutdown, possibly even further," said Aaron Kohli, an interest rate strategist at BNP Paribas in New York. The deal reached by Congress last week to end the government shutdown was only a temporary fix, providing funds for the government until Jan. 15 and raising the government's debt ceiling until Feb. 7 -- a situation that could lead to another U.S. political standoff early next year. Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 25/32 in price to yield 2.5179 percent, the lowest since July 24. German Bund futures hit two-week highs, closing 63 ticks higher on the day at 140.54, while yields on German 10-year government debt fell below 1.80 percent. "This report definitely gives the Fed pause. It keeps QE alive and bonds will like it and so might stocks. This is positive for all asset prices," said Craig Dismuke, chief economic strategist with Vining Sparks in Tennessee. Brent crude oil rose above $110 per barrel, pulling its premium above U.S. light crude to the widest in six months, after news of a deterioration in relations between the United States and key OPEC oil producer Saudi Arabia. Brent for December was up 27 cents a barrel at $109.91. U.S. crude futures slipped $1.62 to $97.60 a barrel. The most active gold futures contract on New York's COMEX was up 1.9 percent at $1,340.50 an ounce. European equities set five-year highs in a broad-based rally spurred by the jobs report and corporate results that beat analysts' estimates. Norwegian insurer Gjensidige jumped 8 percent on third-quarter earnings that beat forecasts and a surprise special dividend. UK consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser Group rose 5.2 percent after reporting higher revenue and saying it was reviewing options for its pharmaceuticals unit.