U.S. stocks rise as jobs data signal Fed stimulus may continue

Jobs data signal Fed stimulusmay continue

Bloomberg NewsAugust 3, 2013 

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose Friday, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index erasing an earlier decline, as data showing employers added fewer workers than anticipated in July signaled the Federal Reserve will continue its stimulus efforts.

American International Group rallied 2.7 percent after saying it will pay its first dividend since 2008 and authorizing a share buyback of as much as $1 billion. LinkedIn surged 11 percent after increasing its full-year sales forecast. Dell advanced 5.6 percent as founder Michael Dell agreed to sweeten his proposal to buy the computer maker with a special dividend. Chevron slipped 1.2 percent after posting its biggest second-quarter profit decline in four years.

The S&P 500 ended regular trading up 0.2 percent to 1,709.67, advancing to a record in the session's final hour and capping the weekly gain at 1.1 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 30.34 points, or 0.2 percent, to a record 15,658.36. About 5.7 billion shares changed hands, 11 percent lower than the three-month average.

The 162,000 increase in payrolls last month was the

smallest in four months and followed a revised 188,000 rise in June that was less than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed Friday in Washington.

The median forecast of 93 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 185,000 gain. Workers spent fewer hours on the job and hourly earnings fell for the first time since October. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent.

Consumer spending rose in line with forecasts in June as Americans' incomes grew, while orders placed with factories increased, pointing to further stabilization in manufacturing that may help lift second-half growth, separate reports showed.

Equities pared earlier losses as Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who backed this week's Fed decision to continue bond buying, said the central bank should wait for evidence the labor market and economy are strengthening before tapering purchases.

The S&P 500 climbed above the 1,700 level Thursday for the first time as central banks vowed to maintain stimulus efforts and data on global manufacturing beat forecasts. The benchmark gauge is trading at 15.5 times projected earnings, compared with an average of 13.9 over the last five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

About 83 percent of stocks in the index traded above their average prices from the past 50 days as of Thursday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While that's below a 19-month high of 93 percent reached in May, it's up from its 2013 bottom of 12.8 percent in June.

Some 115 S&P 500 stocks had their 14-day relative-strength index exceeding 70 Thursday, the most since May 21, Bloomberg data show. RSI measures the degree to which gains and losses outpace each other and some analysts who watch charts to predict market moves consider a reading over 70 as indicating the stock has risen too far too fast.

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