The US economy added a staggering 304,000 jobs last month (Drew Angerer)

London (AFP) – Stocks pushed higher on Friday, buoyed by jobs data providing some reassurance that the government shutdown did little damage to the wider economy and by solid earnings by oil companies.

The US economy added 304,000 net new positions last month — the highest in nearly a year and almost double what economists had predicted, according to data released Friday.

James Knightley, chief international economist at Dutch bank ING, said the report “suggests that the US economy hasn’t been adversely impacted by the government shutdown in any meaningful way.”

Friday’s non-farm payrolls figures were being watched for signals about the state of the world’s number-one economy, with the Fed having already warned of a global slowdown.

The nonfarm payrolls reports was not all positive though, as the unemployment rate ticked higher to 4.0 percent, partly due the five-week federal government shutdown.

Moreover, wage growth nearly flatlined on a monthly basis and December’s job creation figure was revised down considerably.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said “the jobs report worked in the Dow’s favour by failing to give the Fed any reason to change its dovish outlook from Wednesday.”

Earlier this week the Federal Reserve fuelled a rally on Wall Street by signalling a slowdown in its pace of American interest rate hikes this year.

After a tepid start, US markets all pushed into the green in late morning trading.

Both Chevron and Exxon beat earnings expectations, helping the Dow push higher.

In Europe, both London and Paris ended the day with solid gains, while Frankfurt finished essentially flat, penalised by shares in fintech Wirecard plunging by a quarter.

China-US trade talks this week ended with no deal but with both sides sounding notes of optimism and setting up more high-level meetings later this month, temporarily soothing concerns of an all-out trade war.

Separately, official data showed Friday that eurozone inflation is moving further away from the European Central Bank’s target of 2.0 percent — indicating that the ECB would be less likely to raise interest rates this year.

In foreign exchange activity, the European single currency rose against the dollar.

The Shanghai stock market jumped Friday to close up 1.3 percent, as traders welcomed news that authorities had relaxed certain rules to make investing easier.

 – Key figures around 1630 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.7 percent at 7,020.22 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.03 percent at 11,175.96 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.5 percent at 5,019.26 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,170.50

New York – Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 25,143.94

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 20,788.39 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: FLAT at 27,930.74 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.3 percent at 2,618.23 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1485 from $1.1447 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3098 from $1.3108

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.47 yen from 108.82

Oil – Brent Crude: UP $1.10 at $61.94 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 90 cents at $54.69


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