Stocks and commodities gain on labor market report

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – Stocks jumped and commodities rose on Friday after data showing fewer U.S. job losses than expected reinforced other reports this week to ease fears the American economy is on the cusp of a new recession.

The U.S. dollar fell against most foreign currencies and government debt prices slid as risk aversion ebbed on optimism the U.S. economy may not be as anemic as many had feared.

The Labor Department said non-farm payrolls fell 54,000 in August. Private employment, considered a better gauge of labor market health than government hiring, added 67,000 jobs after an upwardly revised 107,000 gain in July.

Recent poor economic data had strongly suggested for many in the market that a double-dip recession might be ahead.

“It’s not a great report, but it’s a bit better than expected, and it does not indicate that we’re into some sort of headlong plunge into a double dip,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Risky assets later pared gains after a report showed the U.S. non-manufacturing sector grew below expectations in August, but services still expanded for an eighth straight month.

Copper prices hit a four-month high and silver climbed to its highest since March 2008 on the improved outlook for economic growth.

Wall Street closed more than 1 percent higher, with the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rising 3.8 percent for the week.

MSCI’s all-country world index (.MIWD00000PUS: ) rose 1.2 percent and about 3.9 percent for the week — its biggest weekly gain since the week ended July 11.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) closed up 127.83 points, or 1.24 percent, at 10,447.93. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: ) gained 14.41 points, or 1.32 percent, at 1,104.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 33.74 points, or 1.53 percent, at 2,233.75.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index closed at a three-week high, up 0.8 percent at 1063.70.

While investors’ appetite for risk rose on the payrolls report, data on national services by the Institute for Supply Management was a reminder of the economy’s mixed outlook.

“What we’re seeing here is that the recovery continues to bounce around. This supports our view that we’re going to see a below-average recovery, though the jobs data earlier today made the case for a double-dip harder to make,” said Channing Smith, vice president of Capital Advisors in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Crude oil retreated after briefly rising on the jobs report, and gold prices curbed losses of more than 1 percent to trade lower on the services sector data.

U.S. crude for October delivery fell 42 cents, or 0.56 percent, to settle at $74.60 a barrel.

ICE Brent for October dipped 26 cents, or 0.34 percent, to settle at $76.67 a barrel.

Debt prices fell as investors increased riskier bets.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note, down a full point earlier in the session, fell 24/32 in price to yield 2.71 percent.

The dollar was mostly weaker. The U.S. Dollar Index (.DXY: ), a basket of major currencies, was down 0.55 percent at 82.01.

The euro was up 0.55 percent at $1.2895, while against the Japanese yen, the dollar was up 0.08 percent at 84.36.

December gold futures shed $2.30 to settle at $1,251.10 an ounce in New York.

Asian stocks edged higher before the job report, with MSCI’s regional stock index outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS: ) up 0.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225: ) rose 0.6 percent, but was still down more than 13 percent for the year.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Aleksandra Michalska, John Parry and Robert Gibbons in New York; Kirsten Donovan, Atul Prakashk and William James in London; Writing by Herbert Lash; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

Stocks and commodities gain on labor market report