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Upbeat Jobs Data Contributes To Rally On Wall Street

wallstreet sept27 06dec19 lt

Stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in morning trading on Friday, benefiting from the release of much better than expected jobs data. The major averages are extending the upward move seen over the two previous sessions.

Currently, the major averages are hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 276.42 points or 1 percent at 27,954.21, the Nasdaq is up 77.08 points or 0.9 percent at 8,647.78 and the S&P 500 is up 27.33 points or 0.9 percent at 3,144.76.

The rally on Wall Street comes after the Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report showed much stronger than expected U.S. job growth in the month of November.

The report said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 266,000 jobs in November after climbing by an upwardly revised 156,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected an increase of about 180,000 jobs compared to the addition of 128,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department said notable job gains occurred in healthcare and in professional and technical services, while manufacturing employment also rose as General Motors (GM) workers returned from a strike.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent in November from 3.6 percent in October. The unemployment rate was expected to remain unchanged.

Adding to the positive sentiment, preliminary data released by the University of Michigan showed a much bigger than expected improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of December.

The report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 99.2 in December from the final November reading of 96.8. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 97.0.

With the much bigger than expected increase, the consumer sentiment index reached its highest level since hitting 100.0 in May.

Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said nearly all of the improvement in consumer sentiment in December was among upper income households, who reported near record gains in household wealth due to record high stock prices.

Energy stocks have helped to lead the way higher in morning trading, benefiting from a sharp increase by the price of crude oil.

Crude for January delivery is surging up $1.03 to $59.46 a barrel after OPEC and its allies confirmed plans to deepen oil production cuts to 1.7 million barrels a day.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index has spiked by 3.4 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 2.5 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 2.1 percent.

Significant strength has also emerged among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.2 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in over four months.

Banking, transportation, and semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable strength, while gold stocks are among the few groups bucking the uptrend amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.1 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has jumped by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending a recent pullback but have climbed off their worst levels. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.1 basis points at 1.828 percent.

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