Global stocks rise on strong U.S. jobs figures
A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday, March 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
Published Friday, March 9, 2018 12:22AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 9, 2018 9:01AM EST
LONDON -- Global stock markets rose Friday on the back of strong U.S. jobs figures and investors digested President Donald Trump's announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. South Korea's Kospi was a notable riser, jumping 1.1 per cent on news that Trump plans to meet with North Korea's leader.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC 40 was up 0.1 per cent at 5,260 while Germany's DAX fell 0.3 per cent to 12,320. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was steady at 7,206. U.S. markets were headed for gains on the open, with Dow futures up 0.8 per cent and S&P futures 0.7 per cent higher.
US JOBS: Market sentiment was boosted by the news that the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, the most in any month since July 2016. Wage gains, meanwhile, fell from 2.8 per cent in January to 2.6 per cent year-over-year. Strong hourly wage growth had spooked markets last month because it raised the spectre of inflation.
TARIFFS IMPACT: After a week of trying to determine the impact of potential U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, markets largely brushed aside confirmation that Trump was going ahead with his plan. Now, investors are wondering what countries will ultimately be hit. Trump has already said that Canada and Mexico will be exempted indefinitely provided they agree to renegotiate a North American trade deal to his satisfaction. The EU is looking to be exempted, too, but has said it will retaliate if the U.S. slaps tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.
NORTH KOREA: Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said Thursday. No American president has ever met with a North Korean leader while still in office. The news gave a boost to South Korea's Kospi, which ended 1.1 per cent higher at 2,459.45
ANALYST TAKE: "While the U.S. president may have signed tariffs into law, his apparent success regarding North Korea has also helped to keep risk sentiment on the front foot," said Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 per cent to finish at 21,469.20. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 per cent to 5,963.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also rose 1.1 per cent, to 30,996.21. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.6 per cent to 3,307.17.
ASIAN CENTRAL BANKS: The Bank of Japan kept its ultra-lax monetary policy intact, as expected, at a policy meeting that ended Friday. Meanwhile, People's Bank of China Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan told reporters China can be bolder about opening its financial markets following progress in developing financial regulation, improving management of financial institutions and Beijing's efforts to promote use abroad of its tightly controlled currency, the yuan.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 64 cents to $60.76 barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 77 cents to $64.38 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.2 per cent to $1.2285 while the dollar rose 0.7 per cent to 106.93 yen.