Upbeat Jobs Data Contributes To Modest Strength On Wall Street

Following the release of better than expected employment data, stocks are seeing modest strength in morning trading on Friday. The Dow reached another new record intraday high, but buying interest is somewhat subdued.

Currently, the major averages are posting slim gains. The Dow is up 36.14 points or 0.2 percent at 22,062.24, the Nasdaq is up 12.97 points or 0.2 percent at 6,353.31 and the S&P 500 is up 5.26 points or 0.2 percent at 2,477.42.

The strength on Wall Street comes after a closely watched Labor Department report showed employment in the U.S. jumped by much more than anticipated in the month of July.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 209,000 jobs in July after spiking by an upwardly revised 231,000 jobs in June.

Economists had expected employment to climb by 183,000 jobs compared to the addition of 222,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.3 percent in July from 4.4 percent in June. The modest decrease matched economist estimates.

The report also said average hourly employee earnings were up by 2.5 percent year-over-year in July, unchanged from the previous month.

The data has generated optimism about the economic outlook, although it has also raised concerns about the possibility of future interest rate hikes.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the trade deficit narrowed more than expected in June amid rising exports and falling imports.

The report said the trade deficit narrowed to $43.6 billion in June from $46.4 billion in May. Economists had expected the deficit to narrow to $45.0 billion.

Financial stocks are seeing considerable strength on the heels of the upbeat jobs data, with the Dow Jones Banks Index and the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index climbing by 1.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Steel, internet, and trucking stocks are also seeing notable strength, although buying interest has remained somewhat subdued.

On the other hand, gold stocks have come under pressure on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1.6 percent. The weakness in the sector comes amid a steep drop by the price of gold.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index crept up by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the…

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