U.S. STOCK MARKETS
U.S. stocks ended mostly lower Friday, as enthusiasm over a surprise drop in unemployment faded and headlines sparked renewed concerns about Europe's debt problems.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index added 12 points, or 0.8%, to 1451. Materials-sector stocks on the S&P 500 rose more than 2% to lead Tuesday's advance.
Still, the Dow industrials rose to a five-year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34.79 points, or 0.3%, to 13610.15, capping its first weekly advance in three weeks, although the benchmark pared gains of as much as 87 points earlier in the session.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index slipped 0.47 point, or 0.03%, to 1460.93, snapping a four-session winning streak. Technology shares led the index lower, with Apple down 2.1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slid 13.27 points, or 0.4%, to 3136.19.
The September unemployment rate fell to 7.8% from 8.1% a month earlier, the Labor Department reported, bucking economists' forecasts for it to remain unchanged.
The U.S. economy added 114,000 jobs during the month, just shy of the 118,000 median estimate of economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires. But the department revised its payrolls readings for July and August higher.
The better-than-expected readings on the labor market, factory orders and the service sector in recent days helped stocks post their first weekly increase since the week of Sept. 13, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke unveiled a new bond-buying program meant to boost the economy.
But some investors argue the economy remains too sluggish to justify stocks' rally this year. Traders said concerns about Europe's debt also weighed on stocks after a report European Central Bank executive-board member Joerg Asmussen said it isn't certain Greece would receive an aid payment in November.
In corporate news, Zynga dropped 12% after the social-gaming company provided a third-quarter revenue outlook that was above analyst estimates but lowered its full-year bookings outlook, citing delays in launching several new games. Constellation Brands rose 4.3% after the winemaker reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that topped estimates but revenue that fell short.
Better-than-expected numbers on U.S. jobs growth sent European stock markets rallying Friday, with banks and resource firms leading major indexes higher.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 1% to close at 274.11. The index closed the week up 2.1%, the best weekly performance since early September. Risk-sensitive sectors such as oil firms and banks were among the biggest advancers.
HSBC Holdings PLC added 1.2% and BNP Paribas SA gained 3.5%. Oil firm BP PLC rose 0.6%, France's Total SA gained 1%, and Italy's ENI SpA climbed 2.3%.
In Greece, trading in shares of National Bank of Greece SA and Eurobank Ergasias SA were suspended for most of the day, after media reports said the two banks were in talks for a merger that could create the biggest lender in the country.
The Athens General Index climbed 5.1% to 829.96, with National Bank of Greece up 4% and Eurobank 7.3% higher. Banks were also on the rise in Spain, where Banco Santander SA climbed 3.3%.
The IBEX 35 index closed up 1.8% at 7,954.40 and gained 3.2% on the week. The yield on 10-year Spanish government bonds fell 21 basis points to 5.66%, according to electronic trading platform Tradeweb.
Investors are still closely monitoring Spain to see when, or if, the country will make an official bailout request. Spain's Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said Thursday that the country doesn't require a bailout.
In France, Societe Generale SA gained 3.7% and Credit Agricole SA rose 1.9%. Drug maker Sanofi SA advanced 1.9%, as it said data showed its diabetes drug Lantus was more efficient than other treatments for reaching target glycemic levels.
The CAC 40 index rallied 1.6% to 3,457.04, posting a 3.1% weekly gain. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.7% to 5,871.02 and ended the week 2.3% higher, buoyed by banks and resource firms.
Heavyweight miner Rio Tinto PLC added 2.2%, while Royal Dutch Shell PLC gained 0.9%. Burberry Group PLC rose 2.8% after Morgan Stanley lifted the stock to overweight from equalweight.
Among German stocks, car makers posted some of the biggest gains. Daimler AG added 2% as it said it will invest more than $170 million in Argentina. BMW AG advanced 2.1% and Volkswagen AG rose 2.3%. The German DAX 30 index gained 1.3% to 7,397.87 and was 2.5% higher on the week.
Asian stock markets were mostly higher Friday, with commodity plays leading the advance, as risk sentiment improved on the back of positive U.S. economic data, while shares in Tokyo briefly slid into losses after the Bank of Japan refrained from announcing fresh monetary easing.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.5% to 21,012.38, South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1% to 1,995.17 and Taiwan's Taiex climbed 0.1% to 7,690.65.
Over the week, the Hang Seng Index added 0.8% while Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese markets ended the week with modest losses. Mainland Chinese markets remained closed for the Golden Week holidays.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average briefly dipped into losses after the Bank of Japan left the size of asset-purchase program and interest-rate target unchanged. But stocks managed to recover, with a weaker yen supporting technology stocks and sending the benchmark index 0.4% higher to finish at 8,863.30.
The broad regional gains came after lower-than-expected weekly jobless claims and factory orders that exceeded forecasts. Markets, however, also reflected caution ahead of U.S. jobs data on tap later in the global trading day.
Resource sector shares outperformed across the region, with energy shares in particular rising after crude-oil prices jumped back above $91 a barrel.
PetroChina Co. rose 1.2% in Hong Kong and Inpex Corp. added 1.6% in Tokyo. An advance for metal prices in New York also sent other resource firms higher, with Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. jumping 4.9% in Tokyo.
In Hong Kong, Aluminium Corp. of China Ltd. advanced 3.1%, Citic Pacific Ltd. jumped 5.2% and Zijin Mining Group Co. rose 2.9%. In Tokyo, automobile firms lost ground on concern about the impact on their China sales and operations following a recent flare-up of anti-Japan sentiment on the mainland. Toyota Motor Corp. declined 1.6% and Nissan Motor Co. shed 1.5%.
Base metals on the London Metal Exchange closed mostly a touch lower after prices wavered between positive and negative territory, yet moves remained small as investors await Chinese traders re-entering the market in the coming week.
At the PM kerb-close, LME 3-month copper was flat on the day at $8,295 a metric ton, having kept in narrow trading range of around $78 throughout the session.
While a weaker dollar versus the euro on the day kept prices for the dollar-denominated base metals underpinned, the base complex continued to hold narrow ranges in the wake of a key U.S. employment reading.
Crude-oil futures fell 2% Friday, ending a week of big price swings, as the threat of gasoline-supply problems and refinery shutdowns raised new concerns about oil demand.
Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $1.83 to $89.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange closed 56 cents lower at $112.02 a barrel.
Gold futures fell as a better-than-expected U.S. employment report poured cold water on hopes of a protracted period of monetary stimulus. The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, settled $15.70, or 0.9%, lower at $1,780.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Compiled from MORRISON SECURITIES PTY. LTD.
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