Strong earnings lift stocks but trade fears cap gains and pressure dollar

Strong earnings lift stocks but trade fears cap gains and pressure dollar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks around the world edged higher on Friday on robust earnings, with consumer staples results boosting Wall Street, though a trade spat between the United States and China along with tepid U.S. jobs numbers capped gains and weighed on the dollar.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in July as employment in transportation and utilities fell, but analysts said the numbers didn’t change their expectations for a September interest rate hike.

“With wages and salaries up 2.7 percent, which is consistent with the 2.9 percent annual increase we saw for private sector workers in the June employment cost index report released earlier this week, a third rate hike in September is all but certain,” said Heidi Learner, chief economist at Savills Studley in New York.

Market participants were still focused on an escalating trade dispute between the United States and China, which proposed new tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 138.7 points, or 0.55 percent, to 25,464.86, the S&P 500 gained 12.72 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,839.94 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.90 points, or 0.08 percent, to 7,808.59.

The S&P consumer staples sector rose 1.3 percent and led the gains among major S&P sectors, after getting a boost from Kraft Heinz Co earnings. Kraft Heinz jumped 8.9 percent after beating profit and revenue estimates.

A fall in technology companies, such as Google parent Alphabet, which was down 0.6 percent, and Activision Blizzard’s 3.9 percent drop, weighed down the Nasdaq.

Still, for the week, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set to post gains. The Dow was on track to post a weekly loss.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.35 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.67 percent.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

According to Bespoke Investment Group, mentions of tariffs in S&P 500 company earnings reports for the second quarter have more than doubled from the first quarter of this year.

Following news of China’s retaliatory tariffs and the U.S. jobs data, yields on 7-year U.S. Treasury notes led a fall in U.S. government bond yields across maturities.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 9/32 in price to yield 2.9543 percent, from 2.986 percent late on Thursday.

The 30-year bond last rose 17/32 in price to yield 3.0934 percent, from 3.121 percent late the previous day.

Italy’s bonds had a volatile day, with yields soaring to eight-week highs early in the day over political tensions, then falling back by the close.

The U.S. dollar slipped against the yuan after the Chinese central bank raised the forward reserve requirement for foreign exchange in a bid to stabilize its currency. The dollar was 0.47 percent lower against the offshore yuan.

“Traders playing chicken against the People’s Bank of China got hit by a truck this morning,” said Karl Schamotta, a strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.


The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was flat on the day at 95.148, after dipping as low as 94.98. The index was up 0.5 percent for the week.

Oil prices edged lower after Thursday’s rally, which was driven by an industry report suggesting U.S. crude stockpiles would soon decline after a surprise rise in the latest week. [O/R]

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $68.49 a barrel, down 0.68 percent. Brent crude futures settled at $73.21, down 0.33 percent.

Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho and Abhinav Ramnarayan in LONDON, Asia markets team, and Kate Duguid, Stephen Culp and Saquib Iqbal Ahmed in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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