Stock markets power ahead on surprise US jobs rise

By: AFP      Published: 07:01 PM, 5 Jun, 2020
Stock markets power ahead on surprise US jobs rise

Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic powered ahead on Friday, lifted by numbers showing that the US economy is generating jobs by the millions again, completely wrongfooting pessimistic analysts.

The dollar and oil also got a shot in the arm from the jobs data that had been expected to be dismal, but turned out to be anything but.

The US economy regained 2.5 million jobs in May as coronavirus pandemic shutdowns began to ease, sending the unemployment rate down to 13.3 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

This compares with consensus forecasts of an eight-million drop in the workforce.

"This a mind-blowing number and shows that the economy is improving," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

"Things are not as bad as many thought. This data, if it is a true reflection of the economy, is likely to speed up the recovery for the US economy," he said.

Wall Street kicked Friday's session off with a staggering 700-point gain on the Dow, while European stocks massively extended earlier gains.

Global stock markets had already been on the recovery path, as economies were being injected with unprecedented cash from governments and central banks, and lockdowns were being eased.

The latest support came from the European Central Bank, which on Thursday ramped up its emergency bond-buying scheme by a bigger-than-expected 600 billion euros ($674 billion) to 1.35 trillion.

The dollar rose against the euro following the jobs data, having earlier in the session traded at a three-month low against the European currency.

Oil prices were firmly on course for a sixth weekly rise partly on fresh hopes for the US economy, and partly because OPEC and its allies brought forward a meeting to discuss further oil output cuts.

OPEC's 13 members led by Saudi Arabia and their allies, including Russia, who had originally been due to meet June 9 and 10, will now meet on Saturday to talk about cuts, an OPEC source said Friday.