Stocks rebound

Markets lifted by US jobs and Fed chair’s comments

Market close – Strong jobs growth figures and Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s comments that US interest rate rises may be on hold encouraged equity buyers back into the market.

London shares ended higher, the FTSE 100 closing 145.6 points or 2.2% up at 6,838.24 while the FTSE 250 closed 357 points or 2% ahead.

Non-farm payroll employment increased by a higher than expected 312,000 in December. Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics said the employment numbers make a mockery of recession fears in the US.

Mr Powell said the Fed is “prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly” to support the economy.

His comments helped counter fears of slowing global economic growth and were further supported by confirmation of more talks between the US and China.

US stocks bounced back from their worst two-day start to a year since 2000. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 747 points, or 3.3% higher, while the S&P 500 was 3.43% up and the tech-heavy Nasdaq by 4.3%.

Stocks around the globe also rose. The Shanghai Composite Index and the Hang Seng both rose more than 2%.

China-exposed equities outperformed in Europe. The broader Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed 2.8%, also buoyed by its energy constituents, which rose partly on the continuing resurgence in energy prices.

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