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Bonds whipsaw, world stocks barely higher after mixed U.S. jobs data

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By Sinéad Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Treasuries were mixed on Friday while MSCI’s global equity index rose slightly after U.S. jobs growth slowed more than expected in June but remained strong.

Official U.S. nonfarm payrolls on Friday showed employers added 209,000 new hires in June, below forecasts while May numbers were revised down by 33,000 to 306,000. Still the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in June from 3.7% in May and average hourly earnings rose 0.4%, the same as May.

On Thursday, private payroll provider ADP’s strong U.S. labour market data had sent equities lower and boosted Treasury yields. But Friday’s government data prompted a more muted market reaction and barely changed expectations for the Federal Reserve’s rate hiking cycle.

“It shows the labor market is still hot, but certainly not as hot as the ADP number indicated yesterday, Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “Today’s numbers confirm the job market is still strong … and this report gives the green light to the Fed to raise rates.”

Traders were still betting on a more than 90% chance that the Fed would raise rates by a quarter of a percentage point in late July while expectations for another hike in September had fallen to around 21% from just under 28% on Thursday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

U.S. Treasury yields moved lower although longer-dated yields were higher on the session, after a reading on the labor market calmed concerns that Federal Reserve could become more aggressive in raising interest rates.

Benchmark 10-year notes were down 1.1 basis points to 4.030%, from 4.041% late on Thursday. The 30-year bond was last up 2.2 basis points to yield 4.0253%, from 4.003%. The 2-year note was last was down 9.6 basis points to yield 4.91%, from 5.006% on Thursday.

Equities were a mixed bag with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 55.25 points, or 0.16%, at 33,867.01, the S&P 500 gaining 1.28 points, or 0.03%, to trade at 4,412.87 and the Nasdaq Composite rising 34.34 points, or 0.25%, to 13,713.38.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.11% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.16%.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.28%. Earlier, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.71% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.17%.

In currencies, the dollar fell after the data even as strong wage growth pointed to a resilient labor market, suggesting a Fed resumption of rate hikes in July after a June pause.

The dollar index fell 0.631%, with the euro up 0.53% to $1.0944.

The Japanese yen strengthened 1.28% versus the greenback at 142.24 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2822, up 0.64% on the day.

In commodities, oil prices were higher even as U.S. jobs data did little to allay fears of further interest rate hikes. They were on track for their second straight weekly gain after a larger-than-expected fall in U.S. oil stockpiles.

U.S. crude recently rose 1.73% to $73.04 per barrel and Brent was at $77.74, up 1.59% on the day.

Spot gold added 1.0% to $1,928.89 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 1.32% to $1,933.80 an ounce.

(Reporting by Sinéad Carew, Caroline Valetkevitch in New York, additional reporting by Nell Mackenzie and Naomi Rovnick in London, Tom Westbrook in Sydney; Editing by Andrew Heavens, David Holmes and David Evans)

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