US markets hit record highs after Paris withdrawal, jobs data

One wrinkle: it will take four years for the US to exit the Paris climate change accords, making the next presidential election a referendum on Trump's decision.

US stocks closed at fresh highs on Friday. Indexes in Europe and Asia also hit new records.

President Donald Trump was quick to trumpet the rise, which came after he pulled the Paris climate change accords, and positive jobs data.

The jobless rate fell to 4.3%, the lowest reading since May 2001. It was seen as a sign economic expansion is entering a new phase, though companies also face increasing pressure to find staff as full employment nears.

The Dow closed up 0.29% to 21,206 and the S&P 500 was up 0.37% to 2439, while the Nasaq rose 0.94% to 6306.

Despite the overall gains, some companies suffered.

ExxonMobil, which lobbied for the US to stay in the Paris deal, fell. The Wall Street Journal says the giant energy company's natural gas interests mean it would have been a net beneficiary of a decision to stay.

Electric car and solar panel battery maker Tesla also fell. The company's founder and CEO, Elon Musk, quit a White House advisory panel in protest at the president's decision.

Another chief executive who protested was General Electric boss Jeff Immelt, although he confined himself to a brief, diplomatic protest on Twitter. GE makes wind turbines and other renewable energy infrastructure amid a broad portfolio of products. Its shares actually closed up 0.58%.

Delayed impact
If the US follows the process outlined in the Paris accords, then exiting the deal will take four years, as EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pointed out overnight. That potentially turns the next presidential election into a referendum on the president's decision.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Mr Trump did not take the so-called "nuclear option" of pulling the US out o the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – a move that would have allowed the US to withdraw from the Paris accords in one year.

Meanwhile, representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.

Ironically, the group includes Pittsburg, name-checked in Mr Trump's speech as he quipped "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

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