September 6, 2019 / 6:09 PM / 9 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Fed chair Powell's remarks, China stimulus help markets look past weak U.S. jobs data

* Fed’s Powell speaks in Zurich

* China’s central bank announces stimulus policy

* U.S. jobs data disappoints

* The dollar edges lower

* Crude prices on track for weekly gain (Updates to afternoon)

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Wall Street advanced on Friday and Treasury yields pared their losses as upbeat remarks from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and a Chinese economic stimulus package helped investors shrug off a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report.

The week began with a flight to safety driven by trade jitters and weak U.S. manufacturing data, but positive geopolitical developments in Britain, Hong Kong and Italy, along with news that U.S.-China trade talks would continue, put market participants in a risk-on mood.

That mood was given a further lift by China’s central bank, which said that in order to bolster the nation’s weakening economy it would lower the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, resulting in additional liquidity to the tune of 900 billion yuan ($126.35 billion).

“For the next few weeks, market direction is going to be determined by macroeconomic and geopolitical headlines,” said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta. “Until we get into October and there’s solid company data again, the market’s going to be gyrating based on headlines.”

But risk appetite was curbed after the U.S. non-farm payrolls report showed an increase of 130,000 jobs in August, fewer than analysts expected.

The underwhelming data provided another possible sign that the longest-ever period of U.S. economic expansion is losing steam and increased the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates when it meets later this month.

“The jobs report gave enough weakness for the Fed to cut 25 basis points this month, but not enough that they would start flashing a recession warning,” Sroka added.

Indeed, Powell called the jobs report consistent with a quite strong labor market, in remarks made at a panel discussion in Zurich, adding that despite trade uncertainties he does not foresee or expect a U.S. recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 120.6 points, or 0.45%, to 26,848.75, the S&P 500 gained 7.6 points, or 0.26%, to 2,983.6 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.53 points, or 0.13%, to 8,127.36.

European and emerging markets extended their gains as China’s stimulus announcement outweighed the disappointing economic data from the United States and also from Germany.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.32% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.34%.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.63%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.72% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.54%.

U.S. Treasury yields pared their losses and were essentially flat following the Powell’s remarks in Zurich.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 1.5483%, from 1.565% late on Thursday.

The 30-year bond last rose 23/32 in price to yield 2.0236%, from 2.054% late on Thursday.

The dollar also regained some ground lost against a basket of major world currencies after the Fed chair spoke.

The dollar index fell 0.08%, with the euro up 0.03% to $1.1036.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.10% versus the greenback at 106.86 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2299, down 0.24% on the day.

Powell’s remarks also sent crude prices into positive territory after spending much of the session in the red.

U.S. crude rose 0.25% to $56.44 per barrel and Brent was last at $61.46, up 0.84% on the day.

Gold initially gained ground on the heels of weaker-than-expected labor market data, but has since reversed.

Spot gold dropped 0.6% to $1,510.40 an ounce.

Copper lost 0.18% to $5,834.50 a tonne.

Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange lost 0.06% to $1,783.00 a tonne. (Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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