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US Stock Indexes Post Gains            12/06 16:40

   A surprisingly strong U.S. jobs report put investors in a buying mood 
Friday, driving stocks on Wall Street broadly higher and extending the market's 
winning streak to a third day.

   (AP) -- A surprisingly strong U.S. jobs report put investors in a buying 
mood Friday, driving stocks on Wall Street broadly higher and extending the 
market's winning streak to a third day.

   The rally pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average up by more than 300 points 
and erased the S&P 500's losses from earlier in the week, nudging the benchmark 
index to a second consecutive weekly gain.

   Technology, financial and industrial stocks drove much of the gains. 
Utilities, a safe-play sector, were the only laggard. Bond yields rose.

   The Labor Department said employers added 266,000 positions, well above 
estimates of 184,000. The report also showed unemployment falling to a 50-year 
low. Separately, an index that measures how consumers feel about the economy 
showed an increase from last month.

   The encouraging reports offer reassurance for investors who may have been 
worried that consumers might be pulling back on spending, said Rob Haworth, 
senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

   "Increasing jobs, people back to work, plus that jump in consumer confidence 
tells you that the consumer is still there, and probably will still spend 
money," he said. "It's a better than we expected set of data, and clearly the 
market is pricing that in."

   The S&P 500 rose 28.48 points, or 0.9%, to 3,145.91. The index posted a 0.2% 
gain for the week, a solid pivot from losses of more than 1% as of late 
Thursday. It's now within 0.3% of its all-time high set on Nov. 27 and up 25.5% 
so far this year.

   The latest gains also helped stem some of the losses for the Dow and Nasdaq. 

   The Dow climbed 337.27 points, or 1.2%, to 28,015.06. The Nasdaq gained 
85.83 points, or 1%, to 8,656.53. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company 
stocks picked up 19 points, or 1.2%, to 1,633.84.

   Friday's batch of encouraging economic data capped what started as a rough 
week for the market.

   Increased trade tensions and disappointing economic reports -- including 
data showing manufacturing continues to shrink and growth in the service sector 
is slowing -- dragged the market to steep losses on Monday and Tuesday. The 
major indexes stayed in a slump through Thursday.

   "All that took a bit of the surge out of the market," Haworth said. 

   The latest employment report and consumer sentiment data are a welcome 
development as steady job growth has been one of the bright spots in the 
economy, along with solid consumer spending.

   Investors also got some encouraging news on the U.S.-China trade front, with 
Beijing saying Friday that it is waiving punitive tariffs on U.S. soybeans and 
pork as negotiations for a trade deal continue.

   Financial markets were rattled this week when President Donald Trump said he 
wouldn't mind waiting until after the 2020 elections for a trade deal. Wall 
Street has been hoping enough progress can be made on a "phase 1" trade 
agreement to avert new tariffs on Chinese goods, such as laptops and 
cellphones, set to become effective on Dec. 15. China has been seeking relief 
from some tariffs as part of the negotiations.

   "You're getting feel-good news going into the weekend," Haworth said. "It 
doesn't mean, to my mind, that all the concerns are off the table. One of the 
risks we'll have in the coming week is you still haven't gotten the phase 1 
deal."

   Gains by technology sector stocks helped drive the market rally Friday. 
Micron Technology rose 2.8%.

   Banks also rose, as the solid jobs report sent bond yields higher, which 
lenders rely on to charge higher interest rates on mortgages and other loans. 
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.84% from 1.79% late Thursday. 
JPMorgan Chase rose 1.5%.

   Industrial stocks also notched solid gains. 3M rose 4.3%. 

   Uber fell 2.8% after a safety report revealed that more than 3,000 sexual 
assaults were reported during its U.S. rides in 2018. The report is part of the 
ride-hailing company's effort to be more transparent after years of criticism 
over its safety record.

   Benchmark crude oil rose 77 cents to settle at $59.20 a barrel. Brent crude 
oil, the international standard, gained $1 to close at $64.39 a barrel. 
Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.65 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 2 
cents to $1.95 per gallon. Natural gas fell 10 cents to $2.33 per 1,000 cubic 
feet.

   Gold fell $17.80 to $1,459.10 per ounce, silver fell 46 cents to $16.48 per 
ounce and copper rose 6 cents to $2.71 per pound.

   The dollar fell to 108.55 Japanese yen from 108.74 yen on Thursday. The euro 
weakened to $1.1056 from $1.1099.

   Major stock indexes in Europe finished higher. 


(AG)

 
 
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