* Investors shrug off disappointing jobs report, citing
* Unemployment rate falls to five-year low of 6.6 percent
* Bond prices rise on the jobs report, economic softness
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Feb 7 Global equity markets rallied on
Friday as investors pegged a poor U.S. jobs report on bad
weather, but bond yields and the dollar fell as the data showed
employers hired far fewer workers than expected in January,
suggesting economic softness.
Non-farm payrolls rose by 113,000, well below the consensus
of 185,000, although the unemployment rate hit a five-year low
of 6.6 percent, the U.S. Labor Department said.
The dollar fell broadly while safe-haven gold and U.S.
government debt prices rose on the unemployment report. But the
equity market also rose, with investors writing off the weakest
two months of U.S. job growth in three years on inclement
"Markets are increasingly behaving as though the recent
series of soft economic data is truly attributable to bad
weather, and not some broader downturn in demand," said David
Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston.
"It's unlikely that the economic momentum from late last
year simply stalled in December and January," Joy said.
MSCI's all-country stock index rose 0.56
percent, and its gauge of emerging markets rose 0.69
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading
shares rose 0.55 percent, helped by steelmaker Arcelor
, as investors bet equities would continue to benefit
from the region's gradual economic rebound.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose
8.45 points, or 0.05 percent, to 15,636.98. The S&P 500
gained 4.86 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,778.29 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 15.465 points, or 0.38 percent, to
"Expectations for the report were too high, and investors
are giving the report the benefit of the doubt because of the
weather," said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at
National Securities in New York.
After the sell-off earlier in the week, the fact equities
are rising after Thursday's gains shows there's still momentum
to the bull market, Selkin said.
"Stocks initially got killed after the report came out, but
now we're pretty sharply higher. That's a strong sign that we've
bottomed out," he said.
Though the labor market report called into question the
strength of the economy, the preponderance of most economic data
still shows some pretty good growth, said Anthony Valeri,
investment strategist at LPL Financial in San Diego.
"We're seeing earnings on track to grow about 9 percent
year-over-year, and as long as that's the case, the pullback in
stocks is likely to be limited," Valeri said.
"The data hasn't been weak enough to suggest that the
current earnings trajectory will deviate," he said.
The dollar index fell 0.19 percent to 80.754, as the
euro gained 0.16 percent to 1.3610 against the greenback.
The dollar rose 0.12 percent to 102.20 against the yen.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 9/32 in price,
pushing its yield down to 2.6656 percent.
Brent crude rose toward $108 a barrel after a fall in the
U.S jobless rate to a five-year low of 6.6 percent fueled hopes
for stronger demand in the world's top oil consumer.
Brent crude oil futures were up 81 cents at $108.00
a barrel. U.S. crude was up 28 cents at $98.12 a barrel.