Business

Dow Jones at five-year high on jobs and manufacturing data

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Last Updated at 17 Oct 2017, 19:59 GMT *Chart shows local time Dow Jones intraday chart
value change %
22997.44 +
+40.48
+
+0.18

Top winner and loser

Unitedhealth Group Inc.

203.89 +
+10.69
+
+5.53

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

236.09 -
-6.32
-
-2.61
value change %

Nasdaq Index

6623.66 -
-0.35
-
-0.01

S&P 500 Cash Index - Chicago Mercantile Exchange

2559.36 +
+1.72
+
+0.07

The main US share index closed at a five-year high on Friday, buoyed by official data showing that the economy added more jobs than previously estimated at the end of last year.

The Dow Jones finished up 1.1% or 149 points to 14,010, the first time it had passed 14,000 since October 2007.

The Labor Department said that in November and December the economy added 127,000 more jobs than first thought.

Investor sentiment was further lifted by strong manufacturing output data.

'Improving health'

The employment and manufacturing figures were a welcome boost to the markets, as they came just two days after other official data estimated that the US economy contracted by 0.1% in the final quarter of 2012.

For January, the US economy added 157,000 new jobs, slightly below forecasts.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% in January, from 7.8% in December.

In 2012, an average of 181,000 jobs a month were created, the Labor Department said.

The manufacturing figures came in a survey from financial data firm Markit.

Its latest purchasing managers' index rose to 55.8 last month, up from 54 in December. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Markit said that its latest survey "suggests the underlying health of the industrial sector continues to improve, and rising production will help the economy return to growth in the first quarter, provided there are no setbacks in coming months".

Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corporation in Chicago, said: "All the data seems to keep pointing to a slowly, steadily improving economy."

Other analysts said the stock market was also being lifted by investors moving funds out of bonds and into stocks, as a result of bond yields falling.

"There's a lot of money looking for a home and people are finally deciding the bond market is done and moving money into equities," said Edward Simmons, managing director of Maine-based financial advisors HighTower.

'Positives and negatives'

The Labor Department said that in January, jobs were created in retail, construction, healthcare and wholesale trade, but jobs were lost in transportation and warehousing.

Employment in retail rose by 33,000, compared with an average monthly gain of 20,000 in 2012.

Employment in construction rose by 28,000. The Labor Department said that the industry had created 296,000 jobs since falling to a low in January 2011, but added that the current level of employment was still some two million below its previous peak in April 2006.

Healthcare added 23,000 jobs in January, while wholesale trade added 15,000.

There was little change in manufacturing employment, which has been essentially flat since July 2012.

On the downside, couriers and messengers lost 19,000 jobs, after strong seasonal hiring in November and December came to an end.

Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York, said: "Like most of our jobs reports, it seems like every month, there is something for everybody in this one - there are positives and negatives.

"It was certainly below expectations and a slight negative that we saw a tick up in the unemployment rate from 7.8% to 7.9%, especially with the labour force participation rate staying where it is, which suggests there aren't a vast influx of those unemployed/underemployed coming back being job seekers. That was disappointing."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites