Wall Street is up Friday following signs the U.S. jobs market is slowing a bit, which could take some pressure off the nation’s high inflation, if not as quickly as the Federal Reserve hoped.
The S&P 500 was 1.1% higher in early trading after the U.S. government said the unemployment rate ticked higher in October and employers added fewer jobs than they had a month earlier. Perhaps even more key for markets was that average raises for workers also slowed last month.
The data offers some hope that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to intentionally restrain the jobs market are taking effect and may help lower inflation. The slowdown, though, was more modest than economists expected. And it changed very few minds, if any, on Wall Street about what’s going to happen next: The Fed will keep hiking interest rates toward levels rarely seen this millennium, moves that will further brake the economy and drag on prices for stocks and other investments.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell earlier this week called out a still-hot jobs market in particular as one of reasons the central bank may ultimately have to raise rates higher than earlier thought. Friday’s jobs report, which many investors saw as merely maintaining the status quo, heightens the importance of next week’s update on how bad inflation was across the country in October.
Markets around the world wobbled in the minutes immediately following the release of the U.S. jobs data, which is one of the most anticipated reports on Wall Street every month. But they eventually resumed climbing.
Markets had been higher earlier in the day, in part on hopes that China may soon relax on its strict anti-COVID measures that are hurting the world’s second-largest economy and sometimes cause entire cities to be locked down for weeks.
Such a move could give a big boost to the global economy when worries about recessions caused by rising interest rates dog countries around the world.
The hopes, though, have been built on speculation and some relatively thin strands, with no official confirmation of broad policy changes. Stocks in Hong Kong nevertheless surged 5.4% Friday, while stocks in Shanghai jumped 2.4%. Both markets finished the week with strong gains.
Stocks also rallied across Europe. France’s CAC 40 rose 2.6%, and Germany’s DAX returned 2.2%.
AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.
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