Upbeat US Economic Data Lifts Stocks

Equities

On Friday, Asian markets traded mostly lower after the Fed’s FOMC minutes revealed the bond-buying euphoria may come to an end this year. The Hang Seng slipped .3% to 23331, and the Kospi declined .4% to 2012. The Nikkei was a notable exception, jumping 2.8% to 10688, as it resumed trading for the first time since New Year’s.

European markets advanced, encouraged by upbeat US payroll data. The FTSE outperformed, climbing .7% to 6090, while the DAX rose .3% to 7776.

US shares gained, pushing the S&P 500 up .5% to 1466, a 5-year high. The Dow tacked on 44 points to 13435, while the VIX skidded 5% to 13.83.

Dow Jones

Apple shares slumped 2% following a report which suggests Samsung will widen its smartphone sales lead in 2013.


Treasuries and Commodities

Bonds ended little changed, with the benchmark 10-year note yielding 1.90% vs. Thursday’s 1.91%.

Crude oil inched up 17 cents to 93.09, despite a sharp drop in inventories. Weekly inventories fell by 11.1M, significantly exceeding forecasts for a .7M barrel drop.

Gold skidded 1.5% to 1648.90, and silver fell 21 cents to 29.946.


Currencies

The Euro rose .2% to 1.3064, lifted by positive service sector data from the Euro zone. The Pound eased fractionally, while the Yen tumbled as low as 88.39, before settling at 88.16, down 1.2%.


Economic Outlook

The non-farm payroll report showed the US economy grew by 155K last month, slightly above forecasts, although the unemployment rate rose to 7.8% from 7.7%. ISM non-manufacturing PMI rose to 56.1 from 54.7, beating forecasts.

No major reports are due on Monday.

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