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Weekend markets: US shares close near five-year high

Stocks on Wall Street edged higher, adding to multiyear highs, as lower-than-forecast August jobs growth stoked speculation of further stimulus measures.

The US economy added 96,000 jobs in August, short of economists' expectation for 125,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1% from 8.3% a month earlier.

The numbers bolstered the case for the US Federal Reserve to initiate another round of quantitative easing, flooding the markets with cash and weakening the dollar, while boosting riskier assets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 14.64 points, or 0.1%, to 13,306.64, its highest finish since December 2007. For the week, the Dow rose the most since late July.

The S&P 500 index gained 0.4% to 1437.92, its highest level since January 2008.

Google shares rose 1.0%, to $706, a level not seen since 2007. The Nasdaq Composite was steady at 3136.42.

Other markets: Europe, Asia up
European markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.2% to 272.30, adding to a 2.3% gain from Thursday. On the week, the index gained 2.3%, the strongest weekly rise since early June.

The French CAC 40 index picked up 0.3% to 3519.05, ending the week 3.1% higher.

Asian markets surged, with China's Shanghai Composite running up 3.7% to 2127.76 after Beijing approved more infrastructure projects. It was the biggest daily rise in percentage change since January 17 when it surged 4.2%.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong had its second biggest leap of the year, up 3.1% to 19,802.16.

Japan's Nikkei Average had its biggest gain in five months, up 2.2% to 8871.65.

Korea's Kospi advanced 2.6% to 1929.58 and Australia's S&P ASX 200 was up just 0.3% to 4325.80.

Commodities: Crude-oil prices rose 0.9% to settle at $US96.42 a barrel, while gold prices added 2%, to finish at $US1737.50 an ounce.

Currencies: Euro rises to three-month high
The euro surged to its highest level against the dollar in more than three months.

The euro was at $US1.2794 and earlier rose to $US1.28 compared with $US1.2631 late on Thursday.

Against the yen, the euro hit a two-month high of ¥100.43 before pulling back to ¥100.21. It even staged a rare blast higher against the Swiss franc, hitting 1.2155 francs, an eight-month high.

The dollar traded at ¥78.28 from ¥78.86 and bought 0.9457 Swiss franc from 0.9536 franc.

The pound fetched $US1.6002 compared with $US1.5932.

More by Nevil Gibson

Comments and questions
2

Yes the money is going to the markets.

Stear clear of housing and employment.

Get even richer.

Sarcastic comment did i hear you say??

if so...... i wonder why.

Cause you are thick.