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NEW YORK, Dec 5 — Wall Street’s main indexes rose to all-time highs yesterday as data showing the slowest US jobs growth in six months raised investors’ expectations for a new fiscal relief bill to help revive the coronavirus-hit economy.
So-called “cyclical” stocks seen as particularly sensitive to the economy, such as energy, materials and industrials, shined as most S&P 500 sectors rose.
The Labour Department’s closely watched report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 245,000 jobs in November, below economists’ expectations of 469,000 jobs and the smallest gain since the labour recovery started in May.
President-elect Joe Biden said yesterday’s “grim” jobs report shows the economic recovery is stalling and warned the “dark winter” ahead would exacerbate the pain unless the US Congress passes a coronavirus relief bill immediately.
“The bad news of the weakening jobs picture is potentially good news for investors because it means that the stimulus bill is much more likely to take place in a fairly short time frame,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in North Carolina.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 248.74 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 30,218.26, the S&P 500 gained 32.40 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 3,699.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 87.05 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 12,464.23.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average and the small-cap Russell 2000 also posted record closing highs.
The benchmark 10-year yield hit its highest level since March at over 0.98 per cent, helping support financial shares which are highly sensitive to interest rates.
The energy sector jumped 5.4 per cent, bolstered by gains in oil prices. Shares of Diamondback Energy Inc surged 12.7 per cent and Occidental Petroleum gained 13.4 per cent.
“There is just a lot of catch-up happening with those sectors and sub-sectors that have really struggled year to date,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at US Bank Wealth Management.
Utilities lagged the most among major sectors, falling 1 per cent.
Positive coronavirus vaccine updates from drugmakers have raised investor hopes for an economic recovery next year and overshadowed worries over a surge in US infections, helping the major indexes to another week of gains after the benchmark S&P 500 surged over 10 per cent in November.
In company news, Boeing shares fell 1.9 per cent as a top company executive said the company is reducing production of its 787 Dreamliner for the fourth time in 18 months.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.54-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.95-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 50 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 222 new highs and 6 new lows.
About 11.4 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, below the 11.8 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. — Reuters