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Thursday December 5th, 2019 9:41PM

Rising tech stocks put S&P 500 on pace for 8th weekly gain

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Rising technology stocks helped lift U.S. indexes on Friday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index was on pace for an eighth straight week of gains. That would be its longest weekly winning streak in nearly four years.

Bond yields held steady after a report showed that the U.S. job market strengthened last month, but not by quite as much as expected.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up nearly 7 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,586, as of 3:20 p.m. Eastern time. It flipped between modest gains and losses earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 6 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 23,522, and the Nasdaq composite rose 42 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,757.

THE ECONOMY: Employers added 261,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.1 percent, its lowest level in nearly 17 years. But job and wage growth was weaker than economists forecast. Average hourly earnings were up 2.4 percent from a year earlier, a slowdown from September's 2.8 percent rate.

While the jobs report offered a mixed bag, other economic reports on Friday were more encouraging, including ones that showed better-than-expected growth in the nation's service sector and factories, said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors.

"I think these numbers will clean themselves up in the next month or two," he said.

Economists said the last two months' jobs reports have been difficult to parse because of the damage that hurricanes did across broad swaths of the economy. The government initially said employers cut 33,000 jobs in September, but on Friday it said that employment actually grew by 18,000 during the month.

FED EFFECT: Mostly encouraging reports on the economy recently have spurred expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its next meeting in December. It would be the third increase this year.

Economists said Friday's jobs report likely won't change that timetable.

The Fed is slowly reining in the stimulus it provided the economy following the Great Recession. Besides gradually raising interest rates, it's also trimming its bond-investment portfolio. Economists expect the slow pace to continue, even as a new chairman arrives. President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Jerome "Jay" Powell to succeed Janet Yellen, whose term expires in February.

TECH RISES: Technology stocks were among the market's strongest, as they have been for much of 2017. Tech stocks in the S&P 500 have jumped nearly 37 percent this year, more than double the 15.5 percent rise for the overall index.

Apple rose $4.36, or 2.6 percent, to $172.47 after it reported stronger revenue and earnings for the latest quarter than analysts forecast. A new iPhone model is debuting Friday, and Apple said it expects the $1,000 phone to make this holiday season its best quarter ever.

DISAPPOINTED: American International Group fell to one of the sharpest losses in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The insurer's shares dropped $3.20, or 4.9 percent, to $61.78.

It's an outlier in what's been a mostly better-than-expected earnings season. The majority of companies have delivered higher profits than Wall Street had forecast, with growth particularly strong for the technology sector.

YIELDS: Bond yields held relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.33 percent from 2.35 percent late Thursday. The two-year yield was unchanged at 1.61 percent, and the 30-year yield slipped to 2.81 percent from 2.83 percent.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.10 to settle at $55.64 per barrel. That's its highest settlement price since July 2015. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.45 to $62.07.

Natural gas rose 5 cents to $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil gained 3 cents to $1.89 per gallon and wholesale gasoline climbed 2 cents to $1.79 per gallon.

Gold fell $8.90 to $1,269.20 per ounce, silver lost 30 cents to $16.83 per ounce and copper dropped 3 cents to $3.12 per pound.

OVERSEAS MARKETS: The French CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent and the FTSE 100 in London added 0.1 percent.

South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.5 percent, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3 percent. Japan's market was closed for a holiday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.08 Japanese yen from 114.00 yen late Thursday. The euro dipped to $1.1611 from $1.1659, and the British pound rose to $1.3074 from $1.3060.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
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