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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rally after U.S. jobs report
February 7, 2014 / 2:30 PM / 4 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks rally after U.S. jobs report

* Investors focus on further dip in U.S. unemployment rate

* Emerging market battered currencies bounce back

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Stocks, oil and some base metals rallied on Friday as data showed the U.S. unemployment rate falling to its lowest level since 2008, eclipsing softer-than-expected monthly payrolls.

Data showed U.S. employers hired far fewer workers than expected last month - 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.

Stocks initially reacted negatively to the data, before bouncing back, with Europe’s benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 rallying 0.8 percent and U.S. stock index futures

up 0.6-0.7 percent.

“The headline payroll figure is quite soft, probably due to the bad weather last month, but the trend in the jobless rate is intact, and that’s a pretty good indication that the U.S. economy is back on track. So overall it’s positive for the market,” said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities, in Paris.

The MSCI All-Country World index was up 0.5 percent, further recovering from a 6 percent slide that had started in late January, the equity market’s steepest pull-back in seven months.

Stock markets worldwide had recently been knocked lower by tepid U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data as well as a rout in emerging currencies, fuelled in part by the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stimulus withdrawal.

London copper was up 0.2 percent on Friday, set to post its largest weekly rise this year, while Brent crude was up 36 cents at $107.56 a barrel, heading for its second weekly gain in three.

The dollar dipped after the weaker-than-expected employment data drove market interest rates lower.

“The headline number clearly surprised to the downside,” said Richard Cochinos, currency strategist at Citi in New York.

“It certainly is a positive for bonds and yields are lower and that’s a negative for the dollar.”

Emerging market equities regained ground, with the MSCI Emerging Market index up 0.9 percent, while battered currencies such as the Turkish lira and the South African rand were trading off recent lows.

The relative calm may not last, however, as data shows investors continued to repatriate funds from emerging markets this week. Outflows so far this year have now exceeded those for all of 2013.

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