Wall Street Rises as Strong Jobs Data Offsets Trade Worries

(Reuters) -
Traders at the New York Stock Exchange, Friday. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

U.S. stocks rose on Friday, as stronger-than-expected jobs growth in June and a surge in Biogen’s shares eased concerns about an escalating U.S.-China trade dispute after the two countries slapped tariffs on each other’s imports worth $34 billion.

Biogen jumped 15.6 percent and was on track for its biggest percentage gain in over seven years after the company and Japanese drugmaker Eisai Co said their Alzheimer’s drug showed promise in a mid-stage trial.

The S&P health-care index rose 1.1 percent, while the Nasdaq biotech index jumped 2.9 percent.

The gains were broad-based, with all the 11 major S&P indexes and 27 of the 30 Dow components rising.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 213,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said, topping expectations of 195,000, while the unemployment rate rose from an 18-year low to 4 percent and average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent.

The moderate wage growth allayed fears of a strong build-up in inflationary pressures, keeping the Federal Reserve on a path of gradual interest-rate increases.

“Today’s number really doesn’t indicate that wage pressures are getting out of hand, [and] that’s a positive for the market,” said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist, Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Michigan.

Disputes between the United States and its partners over trade has rippled through financial markets since early March, when President Donald Trump first threatened tariffs on metal imports.

In his latest trade salvo, Trump warned that the United States may ultimately target over $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, an amount that roughly matches its total imports from China last year.

“You’re going to get some stalling of the market, should trade issues begin to accelerate,” said Gerry Sparrow, a portfolio manager for Interactive Brokers Asset Management, a Boston-based online investing company.

At 11:17 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 91.23 points, or 0.37 percent, at 24,447.97; the S&P 500 was up 17.49 points, or 0.64 percent, at 2,754.10; and the Nasdaq Composite was up 67.02 points, or 0.88 percent, at 7,653.45.

Besides Biogen, technology heavyweights Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon provided the biggest boost to the markets.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.46-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.72-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 95 new highs and 12 new lows.