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U.S. stocks inch mostly higher after crucial monthly jobs report


U.S. stocks inch mostly higher after crucial monthly jobs report By Investing.com

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AuthorPeter NurseStock Markets

Published Mar 08, 2024 06:29AM ET
Updated Mar 08, 2024 09:41AM ET

© Reuters

Investing.com — U.S. stocks inched broadly higher on Friday after a widely-anticipated labor market report showed that the American economy added more jobs than expected last month, although January’s blockbuster number was revised sharply lower.

By 09:40 ET (14:40 GMT), the S&P 500  had added 10 points or 0.2%, NASDAQ Composite had climbed 55 points or 0.3%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average was just just 3 points.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 275,000 in February, increasing from a downwardly revised total of 229,000 in January, according to data from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists had called for a reading of 198,000.

When factoring in January’s updated total, the combined employment number for both December and January was 167,000 fewer than previously reported, the BLS said.

In February, job gains were widespread across a variety of sectors, including health care, government, food services and transportation, while employment in other major industries like manufacturing and professional services was little changed.

The report helped to underscore market hopes that the Federal Reserve could successfully quell inflation without sparking an economic meltdown — a scenario known as a “soft landing.”

Costco hit by revenue weakness

The quarterly earnings season is gradually drawing to a close, but there are still a number of major companies in the spotlight. 

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) stock fell almost 5% after the big-box retailer reported second-quarter revenue that missed expectations as demand for higher-priced items was dented by a more cost-conscious consumer.

Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) stock fell just under 2% as investors noted that the semiconductor group did not raise its full-year guidance target despite posting better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter results, suggesting wariness about the future.

On the flip side, Gap (NYSE:GPS) soared over 4% after the fashion retailer beat fourth-quarter expectations, buoyed by strong demand on improved product offerings at its Old Navy and namesake brands during the holiday season.

Crude slips over supply concerns

Oil prices retreated Friday, amid caution over a potentially well-supplied market this year.

By 09:40 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.4% lower at $78.63 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.3% to $82.72 a barrel. 

The crude markets had shown early strength amid optimism over growing demand in China, and the U.S., the two largest consumers of energy in the world.

However, the International Energy Agency’s oil markets and industry division head, said in an interview with Reuters, that the agency sees a relatively well-supplied market in 2024 with demand growth slowing.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.3% to $2,171.95/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0953.


U.S. stocks inch mostly higher after crucial monthly jobs report

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