The US stocks traded higher on Friday after the release of stronger-than-expected jobs data in the country. At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 267.03 points, or 1.07 per cent, to 25,162.24. The S&P 500 increased 29.44 points, or 1.07 per cent, to 2,768.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 88.58 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 7,516.53, Xinhua reported. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 313,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 per cent, said the US Labor Department on Friday. Economists had expected a gain of 200,000 jobs.
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.75 , following a 7-cent gain in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 68 cents, or 2.6 per cent, lower than market expectations. Analysts said with the strong jobs increase and soft wages growth, the report “couldn’t be more positive” for the market. The US equities had suffered great losses last month after stronger-than-expected wages growth triggered market concerns for higher inflation.
Meanwhile, investors were digesting the latest developments of US President Donald Trump’s tariff plan. Trump on Thursday formally signed proclamations to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. According to the announcement, the US will impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum imports, which will take effect in 15 days with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico.
The newly enacted tariffs on steel and aluminum will likely prompt retaliation by trade partners and legal challenges at the World Trade Organization (WTO), putting the rule-based global trade system at risk, trade experts have said.