January 3, 2019 / 12:58 AM / 19 days ago

U.S. jobs data, dovish Fed comments boost equities

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Equities around the globe rallied on Friday while bond yields rose after sharply declining earlier in the week as U.S. employment data pointed to economic strength and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank would be patient with monetary policy.

U.S. and European stocks got a boost as the stronger-than-expected jobs report soothed some concerns of slowing economic growth. That was welcome news to investors after sharp declines on Thursday following Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) cut in its revenue forecast.

Stocks surged further, with Wall Street up more than 3 percent, after Powell said policymakers were paying attention to market activity and would be flexible in deciding future interest rate hikes and reducing the Fed’s balance sheet. He also said that he would not resign if asked to do so by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Powell’s comments alleviated some worries that the Fed’s course of monetary tightening may be too aggressive in the event of an economic slowdown.

Earlier, stock markets were buoyed by news that China and the United States will hold trade talks in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday.

“The market’s been grappling with growth, the Fed and China,” said Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust in Wilmington, Delaware. “Those have been addressed today in a direct way.”

Keeping with Friday’s risk-on theme, oil prices rose in tandem with equities.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose $1.11 to settle at $57.06 a barrel, a 1.98 percent gain. U.S. crude CLc1 futures settled 87 cents higher at $47.96 a barrel, a 1.85 percent gain.

Safe-haven assets retreated. Treasury yields rose sharply, and the dollar gained 0.8 percent against the yen. Spot gold prices, which reached a six-month peak on Thursday, dropped 0.7 percent.

“Longer-term bonds have sold off here today in price,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Inverness Counsel in New York. “There aren’t signs of significant economic weakness.”

Powell's dovish comments pushed down the dollar index .DXY, which gave up earlier gains and last traded down 0.1 percent. The euro EUR= was little changed.

In U.S. equities, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 746.94 points, or 3.29 percent, to 23,433.16, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 84.05 points, or 3.43 percent, to 2,531.94 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 275.35 points, or 4.26 percent, to 6,738.86.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The pan-European STOXX 600 index jumped 2.83 percent, its biggest daily gain since June 2016.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 2.62 percent.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR last fell 32/32 in price to yield 2.6641 percent, from 2.553 percent late on Thursday.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Virginia Furness, Swati Pande, Wayne Cole and Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jon Boyle, Larry King and Dan Grebler

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