US stocks ended the first week of the third quarter with a respectable gain Friday, shaking off early losses as investors found signs of strength in the government's June employment report.
For the most part, investors were relieved to hear that the unemployment rate held steady at 4.5 percent in June for the third straight month, as expected, and that 132,000 jobs were added - fewer than in May, but slightly higher than the average forecast.
Friday's jobs report was the most significant economic release of the shortened Fourth of July week, and indicated a fairly robust job market, given the slow-growing economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45.84, or 0.34%, to 13,611.68.
Broader stock indicators also pared early losses and advanced. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.04, or 0.33%, to 1,530.44, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 9.86, or 0.37%, to 2,666.51.
For the week, the Dow rose 203.06 points, or 1.51%; the S&P 500 rose 27.09 points, or 1.80%; and the Nasdaq advanced 63.28, or 2.43%. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished up 27.09, or 1.80%, at 1,530.44. The Nasdaq composite index ended up 63.28, or 2.43%, at 2,666.51.
Shares ended higher, with investment bank UBS and pay-television operator Premiere among the leaders.
The French CAC-40 index closed up 0.7% at 6,102.69, the UK's FTSE 100 index rose 0.8% to 6,690.10 and the German DAX index increased 0.8% to 8,048.32.
Shares of German pay-TV company Premiere AG jumped 5% after a report that it may get the coveted Bundesliga soccer TV rights. Spanish broadcaster Sogecable, however, declined 3.9% after competitor Mediapro said that it has secured the broadcasting rights for Spain's top soccer teams in the 2009-2010 season.
At the moment, Sogecable shares the broadcasting rights with Mediapro and has exclusive pay-TV rights to the games.
Most markets advanced Friday, with shares in Hong Kong, India, Jakarta and Seoul climbing to records. But the region's biggest bourse in Tokyo declined.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 80.54 points, or 0.44%, to 18,140.94. Investors locked in profits from recent solid gainers, including Canon Inc., which lost 1.10%, and Honda Motor Co., which slid 0.66%.
The dollar weakened against the euro despite a strong US jobs report, as it failed to reverse expectations that the Federal Reserve's next move on interest rates could be a reduction.
Friday afternoon in New York, the euro was at $1.3623 from $1.3598 late Thursday, while the dollar was at 123.39 yen from 122.90. The euro was at 168.09 yen from 167.10 late Thursday. Sterling was at $2.0107 from $2.0118.
The dollar's rise against Japan's currency, however, may have been more a question of yen weakness than greenback strength. The euro pushed above Y168 against the yen for the first time ever Friday, suggesting the yen's problems are widespread.
And the dollar had already begun to advance on the yen overnight, after Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui offered no clear picture of when the central bank may raise its ultra-low interest rates.
Elsewhere, sterling suffered overnight despite a government report that showed UK manufacturing output reached its strongest level in almost six years in May. But the pound rebounded during the New York session on the back of general dollar weakness and ended the session little changed from day-earlier numbers.
Elsewhere, Canada's dollar surged to a fresh 30-year high Friday, boosted by general weakness in the US dollar and a Canadian jobs report showing Canada's economy created more than twice as many jobs as expected in June.
Employers hired a net 34,800 workers, the most since March and well above the 17,000 rise that economists expected.
The data pushed the US dollar to as low as C$1.0462, its lowest mark since May 1977 and down from C$1.0570 late Thursday.
Gold prices advanced, gaining strength from the US dollar's weakness and crude oil's climb above $72 a barrel. Other commodities rose broadly.
August gold prices picked up $4.20 an ounce to finish at $654.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Crude prices jumped as high as $72.94 a barrel in intraday trading on the Nymex over concerns about renewed violence in Nigeria. (AP)
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