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US Stocks Rally After Jobs Surprise    06/05 15:57

   The S&P 500 jumped another 2.6% after a report said the U.S. job market 
surprisingly strengthened last month, bolstering hopes that the worst of the 
recession may have already passed. Employers added 2.5 million workers to their 
payrolls, when economists were expecting them instead to slash another 8 
million jobs.

   (AP) -- For weeks, critics said Wall Street's big rally made no sense when 
the economy seemed set for only more despair. On Friday, it got a bit of 
validation.

   The S&P 500 jumped another 2.6% after a report said the U.S. job market 
surprisingly strengthened last month, bolstering hopes that the worst of the 
recession may have already passed. Employers added 2.5 million workers to their 
payrolls, when economists were expecting them instead to slash another 8 
million jobs.

   While economists cautioned that it's just one month of data and that many 
risks still loom on the long road to a full recovery, the report gives some 
credence to the optimism that's been building among stock investors that the 
economy can climb out of its current hole faster than forecast. That hope has 
been a big reason for the S&P 500's rally of more than 40% since late March.

   The S&P 500 is now down just 5.7% from its record set in February after 
being down nearly 34% earlier this year when recession worries were peaking.

   "It looks like the healing process is underway in the jobs market and it 
looks like it's happening sooner than expected," said Todd Lowenstein, equity 
strategy executive of The Private Bank at Union Bank. "It looks like the worst 
is behind us."

   The S&P 500 rose 81.58 points to 3,193.93 for its eighth gain in the last 10 
days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 829.16, or 3.2%, to 27,110.98, 
and the Nasdaq composite rose 198.27, or 2.1%, to 9,814.08.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.88% from 0.82% late Thursday. 
This area of the market was much earlier than stocks to give warning about the 
coming economic devastation from the coronavirus outbreak. It had also been 
showing much more caution than stocks recently.

   Now, the 10-year yield is close to its highest level since March, according 
to Tradeweb. It tends to move with investors' expectations for the economy's 
strength and inflation.

   Stocks began their massive rally in late March after the Federal Reserve 
came to the rescue with promises of immense aid to keep markets running 
smoothly. Capitol Hill also agreed on unprecedented amounts of support for the 
economy. The actions helped convince investors that the worst-case scenario of 
a full-blown financial crisis was not likely.

   More recently, it's been hopes that economic growth can resume that have 
driven the market, as states across the country and nations around the world 
relax lockdown restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus. Even as 
horrific and historic data continued to come in on the job market and economy, 
stocks largely remained resilient in their climb.

   If the optimism proves to be right, it wouldn't be the first time. During 
past recessions, stocks have historically hit their bottom and turned upward 
months before the economy has. That's because investors are setting stock 
prices now for where they see corporate profits heading months into the future.

   After the financial crisis, stocks hit their bottom in March 2009, for 
example. That was three months before the recession ended, according to the 
National Bureau of Economic Research. It was also seven months before the 
unemployment rate set a peak.

   Analysts and economists warn, though, that a full recovery is still a long 
way away. The unemployment rate is still above 13%, nearly quadruple where it 
was at the start of the year, and on par with where it was during the the Great 
Depression.

   Economists warn that after an initial burst of hiring as businesses reopen, 
the recovery could slow in the fall or early next year unless most Americans 
are confident they can shop, travel, eat out and fully return to their other 
spending habits without fear of contracting the virus.

   The biggest threat to the market is a possible second wave of coronavirus 
infections, which could derail all the improvement and push governments to 
tighten up on lockdown orders. Increasing tensions between the United States 
and China are also raising worries about a resumption in the trade war between 
the world's two largest economies. Some investors are also worried about 
volatility that could be created by this fall's U.S. elections.

   Nevertheless, investors on Friday continued their recent trend of focusing 
more on companies that would benefit most from a growing economy, rather than 
those that had been earlier winners in the weak, stay-at-home economy.

   Smaller stocks had the market's biggest gains, as they often do when 
expectations for the economy are rising. The Russell 2000 of small-cap stocks 
jumped 3.8%.

   Among the biggest stocks, energy producers, banks and industrial companies 
had the biggest gains. Their profits tend to be very closely tied to the 
strength of the economy.

   Travel-related companies were also strong, after their stocks got pummeled 
early in the outbreak on worries that no one would want to fly or go onto a 
cruise ship for a long time. Security officers screened 391,882 people at U.S. 
airports on Thursday, the most since March 22. Year-over-year declines have 
moderated to 85% from 96% in mid-April.

   American Airlines jumped 11.2%, tacking even more gains onto its 41.1% surge 
a day before when it said it would fly more of its regular U.S. schedule in a 
bet that fliers will return to the skies.

   Norwegian Cruise Line rose 14.5%, and United Airlines added 8.5%.

   Retailers and owners of shopping malls rose on hopes that people may also 
head back to enclosed stores. Kohl's climbed 11.5%, and Simon Property Group 
rose 15.5%.

   Some of the stocks that had been the steadiest earlier this year when 
investors were searching for stay-at-home winners, meanwhile, were lagging the 
market.

   Slack Technologies slid 14.2% even though it reported better results for the 
latest quarter than Wall Street expected.

   European and Asian stock markets also rose.

   Benchmark U.S. crude oil for July delivery rose $2.14 to settle at $39.55 a 
barrel Friday. Brent crude oil for August delivery rose $2.31 to $42.30 a 
barrel.

    

 
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