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US Stocks May Extend Rally on Upbeat Jobs Data

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Monday, with stocks poised to extend the rally seen in the previous session.

Stocks may continue to benefit from a positive reaction to the monthly jobs data released by the Labor Department last Friday.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, with a lack of major U.S. economic data likely to keep some traders on the sidelines.

Stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, adding the gains posted on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher for the sixth straight session, reaching a record closing high.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session at their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 440.53 points or 1.8 percent to 25,335.74, the Nasdaq spiked 132.86 points or 1.8 percent to 7,560.81 and the S&P 500 surged up 47.60 points or 1.7 percent to 2,786.57.

For the week, the Nasdaq soared by 4.2 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 shot up by 3.3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

The rally on Wall Street came after the Labor Department released a report showing much stronger than expected job growth in February.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 313,000 jobs in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 239,000 jobs in January.

Economists had expected employment to climb by 200,000 jobs, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent in February. The unemployment rate had been expected to dip to 4.0 percent.

The report also said the annual rate of growth in average hourly employee earnings fell to 2.6 percent in February from 2.8 percent in January.

The markets also benefited from easing geopolitical concerns amid news President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

In a post on Twitter, Trump said, “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time.”

“Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached,” he added. “Meeting being planned!”

The meeting between Trump and Kim would be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

Financial stocks turned in some of the market’s best performances on the day, benefiting from economic optimism following the upbeat jobs data.

Within the financial sector, brokerage stocks posted particularly strong gains, driving the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index up by 2.5 percent to a record closing high.

Significant strength was also visible among transportation stocks, as reflected by the 2.6 percent jump by the Dow Jones Transportation Average. Railroad operators Union Pacific (UNP) and Norfolk Southern (NSC) posted standout gains.

Oil service stocks also saw considerable strength on the day, resulting in a 2.2 percent advance by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

Semiconductor, chemical and retail stocks also moved notably higher, reflecting broad based buying interest on Wall Street.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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