NEW YORK (AFP) – Major Wall Street indices finished at fresh records on Friday (May 7) after disappointing US jobs data fuelled confidence of continued fiscal and monetary support as the economy recovers from Covid-19.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.7 per cent at 34,777.76, its third straight record.
The broad-based S&P 500 also finished at an all-time high, up 0.7 per cent at 4,232.60, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 per cent to 13,752.24.
Economists had projected the economy would add a million positions as vaccines and government stimulus measures allow business to return to normal in the world’s largest economy.
But the US economy added only 266,000 jobs, and the March increase was revised lower, while the unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.1 per cent, the Labour Department reported.
The weak report is a setback for President Joe Biden’s efforts to pump up the recovery, but analysts said it could still provide momentum to his efforts to pass enact trillions of dollars in additional federal funding for infrastructure and social programmes.
Also, the weak April jobs data will quiet talk of a sudden shift in Federal Reserve monetary policy, analysts said.
“At least for today, we’re going to have monetary policy for a while and this is going to help sell the infrastructure Bill,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.
In spite of the poor hiring figures, “it’s unlikely that the economy is starting a period of weakness here,” said Karl Haeling of LBBW, who alluded to other data showing economic acceleration.
“Investors don’t believe that those numbers actually reflect the condition of the economy,” he said.
Among individual companies, Beyond Meat fell 7 per cent as it reported a larger-than-expected loss caused by weak sales to restaurants, sports arenas and other outlets due to the pandemic.