Stocks rise on ‘Goldilocks’ US jobs data, oil lifted by output cut

Markets built on a global rally Monday after a mixed US jobs report lifted hopes the Federal Reserve will skip an interest rate hike this month, while oil extended gains after Saudi Arabia slashed output.

The figures combined with news that Washington had finally passed a debt ceiling deal to avert a catastrophic default, while a report that China is looking at fresh support for its property sector also boosted sentiment.

Wall Street surged Friday after data showed the US economy added 339,000 jobs last month, far more than expected, indicating the labour market remained strong despite more than a year of Fed rate increases.

However, the report also revealed wage gains moderated slightly, putting less pressure on inflation.

Analysts said the “Goldilocks” reading — neither too good nor too bad — suggested the economy was not facing an immediate risk of a recession and could still give the Fed room to hold policy steady.

Asian traders welcomed the news, with Hong Kong extending Friday’s four percent surge, while Tokyo piled on more than two percent to a fresh three-decade high and Sydney added one percent.

Shanghai was helped by a Bloomberg News report that China was looking at measures to help its beleaguered property sector, which accounts for a huge portion of its economy.

Singapore, Mumbai, Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta also rose.

London, Paris and Frankfurt all climbed at the open.

– Saudi output cut –

The latest advances across equities have come as investors bet the Fed will not tighten monetary policy at its meeting next week, though expectations are it will do so in July.

The central bank has lifted rates 10 times since early last year.

“A combination of a US debt ceiling resolution alongside a mixed US jobs report, still favouring a June Fed pause, and news that China may be considering further support to its beleaguered property sector boosted risk sentiment,” said National Australia Bank’s Rodrigo Catril.

The renewed confidence also saw the so-called VIX “fear gauge” drop below 15 points to pre-Covid levels.

Mark Hackett, at Nationwide, said: “Investors have spent much of the past three years obsessed by the Fed, inflation, and payrolls, though volatility around those reports has settled, reflecting a less emotional market.

“This is bullish, as less reactivity is a sign of a healthy market.”

However, Michael Hewson at CMC Markets added: “With the latest US inflation numbers due out the day before next week’s Fed meeting, US policymakers will have a challenging job to spin the idea of holding rates while at the same time keeping the option open for a July rate move.”

Meanwhile, there is a worry that with the borrowing limit standoff out of the way, the Treasury will launch a sale of around $1 trillion of debt to restock its coffers, sucking up cash from banks and sapping liquidity.

Oil prices jumped more than two percent, adding to Friday’s more than two percent advance, after Saudi Arabia slashed output by a million barrels per day for July, which it said was “extendable”.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told reporters after an hours-long meeting of OPEC and other key producers that he “will do whatever is necessary to bring stability to this market”. 

The crude market has come under pressure in recent months on concerns that a year of rate hikes by central banks would spark recessions and hit demand, while China’s post-zero-Covid rally has run out of steam.

SPI Asset Management’s Stephen Innes said the “moderately bullish meeting… partly offsets some bearish downside risks to most price forecasts, including supply beats in Russia, Iran, and Venezuela and downside risks to China demand”.

The jump in prices boosted energy sector shares.

– Key figures around 0810 GMT – 

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 2.2 percent at 32,217.43 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: UP 0.8 percent at 19,108.50 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,232.44 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,647.96

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.2 percent at $73.35 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.2 percent at $77.77 per barrel

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0695 from $1.0709 on Friday

Dollar/yen: UP at 140.31 yen from 139.97 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2407 from $1.2448

Euro/pound: UP at 86.18 pence from 86.01 pence

New York – Dow: UP 2.1 percent at 33,762.76 (close)