S&P 500 hits new high on strong tech earnings and surprise job report


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The S&P 500 notched a fresh record high on Friday as quarterly results from technology companies including Facebook-parent Meta topped expectations and the January jobs report came in much better than expected.

The rise in tech stocks helped shift investor focus from a scorching jobs report earlier on Friday that spiked interest rates. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped a whopping 17 basis points to 4.02% after the government reported the U.S. economy added 353,000 jobs in January, well above the Dow Jones estimate from economists of 185,000. (1 basis point equals 0.01%.)

The report also included inflationary data in the form of greater-than-expected wage growth. Wages expanded by 4.5% year over year, more than a 4.1% forecast. This report and comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday likely pushes the chances of a rate cut back to May or the second half of the year.

But investors instead focused on the resiliency of the economy and how that would keep boosting profits.

The broad market index added 1.1% to close at 4,958.61, above its previous record close of 4,927.93 reached on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 134.58 points, or 0.4%, to 38,654.42, also a record close. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.7% to 15,628.95.

Shares of Meta popped more than 20% after the social-media giant’s quarterly results topped analysts’ expectations. The Facebook-parent also announced it will pay a quarterly dividend for the first time, and it authorised a $50 billion share buyback program. Amazon shares jumped 7.9% on a fourth-quarter earnings beat.

For the week, the S&P 500 added 1.4%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.1% and the Dow rose 1.4%. It was the fourth week in a row of gains for the major benchmarks after a stumble to start 2024.

Along with surging rates, the market shook off a tepid Apple quarter. The shares sat out the Friday rally and closed essentially flat after the iPhone juggernaut posted a 13% sales decline in China.

Futures

The SPI futures are pointing to a 0.7 per cent fall.

Currency

One Australian dollar at 7.20am was buying 65.15 US cents.

Commodities

Gold lost 0.84 per cent. Silver dropped 1.89 per cent. Copper fell 0.83 per cent. Oil lost 2.09 per cent.

Figures around the globe

European markets closed mixed. London’s FTSE fell 0.09 per cent, Frankfurt added 0.35 per cent, and Paris closed 0.05 per cent higher.

Turning to Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.41 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.21 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.46 per cent lower.

On Friday, the Australian share market closed 1.47 per cent higher at 7,699.40.

Ex-dividends
AMCIL Limited (ASX:AMH) is paying 1 cent fully franked
BKI Investment Ltd (ASX:BKI) is paying 3.85 cents fully franked
Qualitas Re Income (ASX:QRI) is paying 1.22 cents unfranked

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.

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