NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks around the world edged higher on Friday on robust earnings, with consumer staples results boosting Wall Street, though a trade spat between the U.S. and China and tepid U.S. jobs numbers capped gains and weighed down the dollar.
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in July as employment in transportation and utilities fell, but analysts said the numbers didn’t change their expectations for a September interest rate hike.
“The jobs report doesn’t change the strength of the job market, it’s just disappointing this time,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
Market participants were still fixed on an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which proposed new tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.
“The trade war fears are probably going to overshadow the jobs report,” Cardillo said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52.93 points, or 0.21 percent, to 25,379.09, the S&P 500 gained 4.43 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,831.65 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.84 points, or 0.09 percent, to 7,795.85.
The S&P consumer staples sector rose 0.8 percent and led the gains among major S&P sectors, after getting a boost from Kraft Heinz Co earnings. Kraft Heinz jumped 5.7 percent after beating profit and revenue estimates.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.22 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.59 percent.
While a tech-led rally on Wall Street overnight filtered through to Asian stock markets, gains were capped by the trade tensions. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.22 percent.
According to Bespoke Investment Group, mentions of tariffs in S&P 500 company earnings reports for the second quarter have more than doubled from the first quarter of this year.
Following news of China’s retaliatory tariffs and the U.S. jobs data, yields on 7-year notes led the fall in U.S. government bond yields across maturities.
The 5-, 7- and 10-year note yields all fell more than 2 basis points in midmorning trade, with the 7-year yield down 2.5 basis points from late Thursday to 2.910 percent. The benchmark 10-year note yield was last at 2.964 percent, down 2.2 basis points from a day earlier.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar slipped against the yuan after the Chinese central bank raised the forward reserve requirement for foreign exchange in a bid to stabilize its currency. The dollar was 0.53 percent lower against the offshore yuan.
“Traders playing chicken against the People’s Bank of China got hit by a truck this morning,” said Karl Schamotta, a strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.
The greenback also came under pressure against a basket of peers after data showed U.S. job growth slowed in July.
The euro, which earlier hit its lowest since the end of June, reversed course to trade 0.06 percent higher as the dollar retreated.
Oil prices edged lower after the previous day’s rally, which was driven by an industry report suggesting U.S. crude stockpiles would soon decline again after a surprise rise in the latest week. [O/R]
Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, Abhinav Ramnarayan in LONDON, Asia markets team and Kate Duguid and Saquib Iqbal Ahmed in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum