Stocks steady as markets shrug off soft US jobs report

Global stock markets consolidated recent gains Friday, comforted by an easing of geopolitical tensions and a looming US-China trade deal which allowed investors to shrug off mild disappointment sparked by a weaker-than-expected American jobs report.

The US economy generated 145,000 new jobs in December, around 20,000 short of consensus forecasts, a relatively minor miss.

The slowdown sparked some talk of an easier Fed policy, but overall the figures were seen as confirmation that the US economy is still solid. The dollar, however, lost ground against its peers in reaction.

“Stocks were unperturbed as the slightly softer than expected jobs data and weaker wage data confirmed the Fed’s stance that the economy is still ‘in a good place’ and that we will likely continue to see a low interest rate environment in 2020,” said Edward Moya at OANDA.

On Wall Street, where stocks had jumped to new records Thursday, the DJIA index was a touch lower in the late morning after opening unchanged.

“The continued fading of recently ramped-up geopolitical concerns and expectations of a signed US-China ‘phase one’ trade deal next week are appearing to help counter a softer-than-expected December non-farm payroll report,” said analysts at Charles Schwab.

Earlier, most Asian stock markets closed higher but investors struggled to maintain a rally triggered by easing US-Iran tensions the previous day.

The toning down of rhetoric from US President Donald Trump and Tehran following an Iranian missile attack on US assets in Iraq soothed concerns about a possible conflict in the Middle East and lit a fire under global equities on Thursday.

That allowed dealers to resume a buying spree that had characterised business for the past few weeks, cheered by China and the United States reaching a trade deal, central banks easing monetary policy and data pointing to an improved global outlook.

Looking ahead to next week, China and the US put pen to paper on their mini trade deal.

Oil prices were mixed, with the sharp gains enjoyed in the wake of the US assassination of Iran’s top general being wiped out by easing tensions. The commodity is now below levels seen before the killing.

There appeared to be little market reaction to claims by Canada that Iran shot down an airliner in Tehran this week, killing 176 people.

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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Senior Market Analyst - The Americas at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya is a market analyst with OANDA, producing up-to-the-minute fundamental analysis of geopolitical events and monetary policies around the world. Over the course of his career, he has worked with some of the world’s leading forex brokerages and research departments including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including BNN, CNBC and Bloomberg, and is often quoted in leading publications including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.
Ed Moya