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Wall Street advances on signs of easing wage pressures


By Shristi Achar A and Shashwat Chauhan

(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main stock indexes rose on Friday after a strong jobs report that also suggested easing wage pressures, boosting the chances of a soft landing for the U.S. economy.

U.S. employers hired far more workers in March than expected and continued to lift wages at a steady pace, suggesting the economy ended the first quarter on solid ground, and potentially delaying the widely expected interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

However, the annual increase in wages slowed in March from the previous month, while the rise in average hourly earnings came in line with estimates, according to economists polled by Reuters.

“We’re at this point in the economy where it seems like things are humming along well from a growth perspective without causing a flare up in inflation,” said Brian Nick, senior investment strategist at The Macro Institute.

“You’ve seen the expectations for rate cuts pushed out a bit because the payroll print was so good. But at the same time, the market does not seem to mind because we are not eventually going to pay for this with higher inflation down the road.”

The three main indexes recovered from a broader market selloff in the previous session after hawkish comments from Fed officials.

Minneapolis Fed Bank President Neel Kashkari said on Thursday while he had penciled in two rate cuts for this year at the U.S. central bank’s meeting last month, none may be required if inflation continues to elude the Fed’s target.

Money markets are now pricing in around two rate cuts this year, down from three a few weeks ago, according to LSEG.

A slew of mixed economic data during the week, such as the soft services activity report, the stronger manufacturing report and comments from policymakers have pressured equities, putting the main indexes on the path to weekly losses.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was an outlier among advancing growth stocks, down 2.4% after the electric carmaker canceled its inexpensive car that was expected to drive its growth into a mass-market automaker, according to three sources familiar with the matter and company messages seen by Reuters.

At 11:39 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 266.21 points, or 0.69%, at 38,863.19, the S&P 500 was up 51.35 points, or 1.00%, at 5,198.56, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 193.14 points, or 1.20%, at 16,242.23.

The markets rose even as yields on U.S. Treasury notes advanced after the data. The yield on the ten-year note was last at 4.3655%.

Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher, with communication services leading gains, up 1.6%.

Krispy Kreme gained 4.7% after Piper Sandler upgraded the doughnut chain to “overweight” from “neutral”.

Shockwave Medical (NASDAQ:SWAV) gained 1.8% after Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) agreed to buy the medical device maker for $12.5 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.35-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 102 new lows.

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