* Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs
* Brent rises above $104
* U.S. unemployment falls to 4-year low
* Government debt slumps on strong U.S. jobs report
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, May 3 The U.S. dollar climbed more
than 1 percent against the yen and global equity markets surged
on Friday after the U.S. government reported jobs growth for
April that topped expectations, driving Wall Street stocks to
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 165,000 last month and the
jobless rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, the Labor
Department said. The decline in the jobless rate was driven by a
gain in employment, rather than people leaving the workforce.
Economists expected payrolls to rise 145,000 and the
unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.6 percent.
Wall Street and European indexes rallied more than 1
percent. Both the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow
industrials topped key levels as they hit all-time highs, with
the S&P 500 breaking through the 1,600 mark and the Dow
Prices of crude oil, copper and other commodities also
rallied as the jobs data raised investor confidence that demand
is growing. Copper, a key industrial metal, surged more than 6
percent. Prices of government debt, a traditional safe haven,
slumped on the data.
"The employment number was definitely the trigger for
today's rally," said Michael Korn, president at Skokie Energy in
Princeton, New Jersey.
The strong jobs data overshadowed an industry report that
showed the pace of growth in the vast U.S. services sector
slowed in April to its weakest pace in nine months.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 156.22
points, or 1.05 percent, at 14,987.80. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 18.96 points, or 1.19 percent, at 1,616.55.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 44.93 points, or 1.35
percent, at 3,385.56.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 of leading shares
rose 1 percent to 1,218.60, the highest close since June 2008.
MSCI's all-country world equity index rose
0.87 percent to 371.13.
The dollar rose 1.24 percent against the yen, to 99.16 yen
, on pace for its biggest one-day rise in two weeks, while
the euro rebounded a day after the European Central Bank's
president, Mario Draghi, said the ECB was technically ready for
negative deposit rates.
The euro was up 0.29 percent to $1.3101.
German Bund futures settled down 101 ticks at
146.15, while the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note
was down 31/32 in price to yield 1.7348 percent.
Brent crude was up $1.52 at $104.37 a barrel, while
U.S. crude gained $1.75 to $95.74 a barrel.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed
at $7,265 per tonne from a close of $6,848 on Thursday. It rose
more than 6 percent, its biggest daily rise since late October
2011, to hit an intraday high of $7,289 per tonne.
"The idea that employment is holding as well as it is in the
face of the fiscal headwinds the economy is currently enduring
is a very positive sign of the economy's underlying fundamental
improvements," said Russell Price, a senior economist at
Ameriprise Financial Services.
The better jobs data comes just a month after the Bank of
Japan promised to inject about $1.4 trillion into the Japanese
economy to spur growth and end decades of deflation.
By increasing liquidity, three of the world's major central
banks have fueled a rally in share and bond markets that has
driven many benchmark indexes back up to levels last seen before
the financial crisis began.