US stocks break out of slump after February jobs report


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are making widespread gains Friday morning after a strong February jobs report. Technology and industrial companies are rising more than the rest of the market, but the gains are relatively broad as investors expect the pickup in hiring to translate into more spending and economic growth in the coming months. The solid report appeared to increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,375 as of 10:18 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 66 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,924. The Nasdaq composite added 30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,869.

Stocks have mostly fallen since March 1, the day indexes soared to their most recent record highs. That’s the last day the S&P 500 rose more than 0.1 percent.

HIGHER HIRING: U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in February, more than analysts had expected, according to the Labor Department. The gains in hiring and pay, along with higher consumer and business confidence since the November election, could lift spending and investment in coming months and accelerate economic growth.

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Investors expected the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, and a poor jobs report might have been the last thing that could have prevented that. ADP release a strong private payroll survey earlier this week, but Labor Department data covers public as well as private hiring.

POWER PLAY: Technology companies climbed. Intel rose 33 cents to $36.15 while IBM added $2.10, or 1.2 percent, to $179.28 and chipmaker Applied Materials gained 65 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $38.03. Construction equipment maker Caterpillar, which has dropped over the last week, led industrial companies higher as it edged up 50 cents to $91.89. Industrial equipment and software maker Rockwell Automation rose $2.24, or 1.5 percent, to $154.42 and motion and control products maker Parker-Hannifin climbed 98 cents to $157.27.

LOOKING SHARP: Beauty products retailer Ulta Salon climbed after it reported a bigger profit and stronger sales than analysts had expected. The stock gained $7.19, or 2.6 percent, to $280.96 and it’s up 72 percent over the last year. Competitor Estee Lauder gained $2.74, or 3.3 percent, to $85.62.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.58 percent from 2.61 percent.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. oil dipped another 3 cents to $49.25 a barrel in New York. The price of U.S. crude dropped more than 7 percent over the last two days after a big increase in stockpiles. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 5 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar jumped to 115.04 yen from 114.74 yen. The euro rose to $1.0630 from $1.0586.

OVERSEAS: The CAC 40 in France rose 0.5 percent and the FTSE 100 index in Britain picked up 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX added 0.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.5 percent as the dollar surged against the yen, favoring manufacturers. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay



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