Wall St. inches higher; jobs data points to economic strength

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U.S. stocks were up slightly on Friday afternoon after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic economy and supported expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week. The S&P 500 was still on track to end down for the week, which would break its six-week streak of gains. Data showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in February, far exceeding economists' average estimate of 190,000. Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week the U.S. central bank is set to raise rates this month if employment and other economic data hold up. The Fed meets March 14-15. The S&P financial index . SPSY, which has risen sharply on prospect of further rate hikes, was down 0.1 percent on Friday, though.

Investors are preparing for the next hike, but "we think a lot that has already been priced in," said Eric Marshall, portfolio manager and Director of Research at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, Texas. With inflation edging closer to the Fed's 2 percent target, traders were pricing in a 92 percent chance of a rate increase at the Fed Open Market Committee's meeting next week, up from 85 percent before the data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average . DJI was up 34.32 points, or 0.16 percent, to 20,892.51, the S&P 500 . SPX had gained 5.11 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,369.98 and the Nasdaq Composite . IXIC had added 14.65 points, or 0.25 percent, to 5,853.46.

The Nasdaq was also on track to break a six-week winning streak. Friday marked the 50th day of Donald Trump's U.S. presidency. Since he took office, the Dow has broken above 21,000 points and the S&P 500 has crossed $20 trillion in market value on bets he would usher in an era of tax cuts, simpler regulations and higher infrastructure spending.

Strong U.S. job growth, rising wages set stage for Fed rate hike WASHINGTON U.S. employers hired workers at a robust pace in February, beating expectations, and wages grinded higher, which could give the Federal Reserve the green light to raise interest rates next week despite slowing economic growth.

Wanda's $1 billion deal to buy Hollywood's Dick Clark scrapped Eldridge Industries, the U.S. owner of Dick Clark Productions Inc, said on Friday that one of its affiliates terminated an agreement to sell off the TV production company to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.

Corzine emphasizes PwC role prior to MF Global collapse NEW YORK Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine on Friday resisted accepting blame for the October 2011 collapse of his brokerage MF Global Holdings Ltd, repeatedly stressing his reliance on judgments by the auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP [PWC. UL].