Market Update & Important Indicators:
The S&P 500 rose Friday after the February jobs report showed robust hiring, but the index notched its first weekly decline since January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45 points Friday, or 0.2%, to 20903. The S&P 500 added 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4%. All three posted weekly declines. The U.S. gold price also rose on Friday, jumping 0.3% to 1,205US$/oz. U.S. government bond yields and the dollar climbed during the week as investors anticipated an interest-rate increase at the Federal Reserve's next meeting. Friday's jobs report bolstered those expectations. The Labor Department's report showed non-farm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 235,000 in February from the prior month, more than the 197,000 that economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected. The unemployment rate also ticked down to 4.7%. The monthly jobs report was the last major piece of economic data the Fed will consider before it makes its decision on interest rates at its policy meeting on March 14-15. Federal-funds futures, used by investors to bet on the Fed's policy outlook, showed the odds of a rate increase in March at 93%, according to CME Group.
European stocks pared gains in afternoon trade on Friday, closing only slightly higher after a report the European Central Bank has discussed whether it could raise interest rates before ending its program of monthly asset purchases. Europe's central bank left all its key interest rates unchanged Thursday, although President Mario Draghi said the ECB probably wouldn't need to take any fresh action to support the economy. The suggestion the bloc was at the beginning of an end to its massive monetary stimulus drove up the euro and pushed down bond prices. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended 0.1% higher at 373.23, after trading as high as 374.89, earlier in the day. For the week, the pan-European gauge dropped 0.5%.
Across Asia, equity markets were mostly higher Friday, with the Nikkei Stock Average up 1.5%, after opening at a five-day high. A rebound in oil prices, which tumbled to year-lows this week, also underpinned gains in stocks. In South Korea, stocks held steady after earlier hitting a six-session high following the Constitutional Court's upholding of the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, permanently removing her from office. The Kospi was up 0.3% on the day, roughly where it was before the late-morning announcement.
Financial stocks led an end-of-week jump by Australia's equity market after comments from the head of the European Central Bank spurred a global bond selloff and renewed investors' appetite for risk. Broad gains across most sectors offset further weakness among mining companies, and propped up the market for its first weekly gain in the last three weeks. Finishing near its high of the day, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 34.4 points, or 0.6%, to end Friday at 5775.6. The four biggest banks, among the largest stocks in the index, collectively added more than 12 points. For the week, the ASX 200 was 0.8% higher.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed up 0.74% at $5,732/t. All other base metals were mostly higher Friday. Aluminium prices rose 0.7% at 1,868/t, lead prices rose 0.4% at 2,258/t, tin prices rose 0.4% at 19,365/t, and zinc prices rose 0.7% at 2,688/t. Nickel prices bucked the trend falling 2.5% at 9,840/t.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
ABM Resources Ltd (ABU), Acacia Coal Ltd (AJC), Troy Resources Ltd (TRY), Hazer Group Ltd (HZR), Berkeley Energia Ltd (BKY), Sino Gas & Energy Holdings Ltd (SEH), Sovereign Metals Ltd (SVM), Kin Mining (KIN), Vital Metals Ltd (VML), Mincor Resources (MCR), Dacian Gold (DCN), Leaf Resources Ltd (LER), Alchemy Resources Ltd (ALY), MZI Resources Ltd (MZI), Seafarms Group Ltd (SFG), Marindi Metals Ltd (MZN), Rift Valley Resources Ltd (RVY), Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Thundelarra Ltd (THX), DTI Group Ltd (DTI) OpenDNA Limited (OPN), Metro Mining Ltd (MMI), Tox Free Solutions Ltd (TOX), St George Mining Ltd (SGQ), Venturex Resources Ltd (VXR)