World markets retained a warm afterglow from Friday’s shining U.S. employment reading, with only minor gains in crude oil prices on Saudi Arabia’s output cut clouding the picture. A forecast-busting May payrolls gain, coupled with signs of cooling wage growth, provided investors with a “soft landing” economic narrative that complemented relief over last week’s government debt ceiling resolution. The Associated Press has the story:
Wall Street: Crude prices rise after OPEC+ cuts
Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are essentially unchanged heading into a week with little new data expected from major U.S. corporations or economic indicators from Washington.
Energy prices are rising after Saudi Arabia said it will cut output by 1 million barrels per day to support sagging prices. But gasoline prices in the U.S. remain far below where they were at this point last year, according to price checker GasBuddy.
The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. on Monday was $3.51, down $1.35 at this point in 2022, and down 4 cents from last week. Last year at this time, the cost for a barrel of oil was approaching $120.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index leapt 1.5% Friday after government data showed employers hired more people than expected in May. That suggests the economy is strong despite repeated rate increases to cool inflation.
Wage gains slowed, suggesting pressure for prices to rise might be weakening. That would reduce the need for the Federal Reserve to cool business activity with more rate hikes.
“Markets appear poised to ride last week’s upward momentum as bubbly risk appetite finds a comfort pillow in hopes for a U.S. soft landing,” said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report.
At midday in Europe, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2% and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.1% the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.1%.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 2.2% to 32,217.43 and the Shanghai Composite Index added less than 0.1% to 3,232.44. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.7% to 19,089.47.
The Kospi in Seoul was 0.5% higher at 2,615.41 and the S&P ASX 200 in Sydney jumped 1% to 7,216.30.
India’s Sensex opened up 0.5% at 62,844.36. Singapore and Jakarta gained. Markets in New Zealand and Thailand were closed for holidays.
On Friday, the Dow rallied 2.1% and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.1%.
The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report showed a slowdown in wage increases even though hiring strengthened. While that may discourage workers who are trying to keep up with rising prices, investors believe slower wage gains will mean less upward pressure on inflation.
U.S. unemployment also rose by more than expected last month, moving up to 3.7% from a five-decade low. That implies more slack in the job market and seems to conflict with hiring data, which come from a separate survey.
Following the report, traders were largely expecting the Fed to hold interest rates steady at this month’s meeting. That would be the first time it hasn’t hiked rates in more than a year.
Fed officials have also warned a pause on rate hikes at this month’s meeting won’t necessarily mean the end to increases this year.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.82 to $73.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.64 on Friday to $71.74. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced $1.80 to $77.93 per barrel in London. It added $1.85 the previous session to $76.13.
The dollar rose to 140.23 yen from Friday’s 139.94 yen. The euro fell to $1.0689 from $1.0712.