Home Stock & Shares Global stock prices hit 1 1/2-month high on U.S. jobs data

Global stock prices hit 1 1/2-month high on U.S. jobs data

by Jonathan Adams
Global stock prices

S&P500 futures rose 0.5%, though tech-heavy Nasdaq futures traded almost flat

Global stock prices hit a 1 1/2-month high on Monday after data showed a surge in U.S. employment while U.S. bonds came under pressure on concerns the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than it has indicated.

U.S. S&P500 futures rose 0.5%, maintaining their advances made during a truncated session on Friday though tech-heavy Nasdaq futures lagged behind, trading almost flat.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8% while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was almost flat, with China markets shut for Tomb-Sweeping day and Australia on Easter Monday.

MSCI’s all-country world index was nearly flat but stood near its highest level since late February and within range of a record high set that month.

The U.S. labour department said on Friday that nonfarm payrolls surged by 916,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain since last August.

That was well above economists’ median forecast of 647,000 and was near markets’ expectations of one million. Data for February was also revised higher to show 468,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 379,000.

There will be further improvements in April, as restaurants have started to reopen. People have expected economic normalisation to take place sooner or later but its pace seems to be accelerating, said Koichi Fujishiro, senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research.

While employment remains 8.4 million jobs below its peak in February 2020, an accelerating recovery raised hopes that all the jobs lost during the pandemic could be recouped by the end of next year.

The prospects of a return to a full employment, in turn, is raising questions about whether the Fed can stick to its pledge that it will keep interest rates through 2023.

Markets have strong doubts, with Fed funds futures FFZ2 FFF3 fully priced in one rate spike by the end of next year.

Many market players also expect the Fed to look into tapering its bond buying this year, even though Fed officials have said it has not discussed the issue yet.

It will become impossible for the Fed to avoid discussing tapering by the autumn, said Kozo Koide, chief economist at Asset Management One, noting U.S. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure spending plan is likely to be passed by then.

The two-year U.S. Treasury yield advanced to 0.186%, near its eight-month peak of 0.194% hit in late February.

Yields on longer-dated bonds also rose, with 10-year notes at 1.725% in Asia on Monday, extending its rise that began on Friday after the job report.

The strong jobs data helped to underpin the dollar.

The greenback traded at 110.57 yen, not far from Wednesday’s one-year peak of 110.97. The euro stood at $1.1767.



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