By Mike Keerma
Buoyed by a better-than-expected U.S. job creation report for March, the
major North American stock market indices logged strong gains for the week,
with both the
S&P 500 Composite Index
Nasdaq Composite Index
ahead over 2%, putting the Nasdaq’s year-to-date gain now at nearly 20%.
S&P/TSX Composite Index
benefitted from a surge in energy issues as
gained over 5% on the week, while financials maintained strength, with the
S&P/TSX Capped Financial Index gaining 2.4% on the week.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the economy
created 196,000 new jobs in March, substantially exceeding street estimates
of around 175,000. The powerful gain reverses an unusually weak report in
February, easing some of anxiety in the first two months of the year that
the U.S. economy may have been headed for a slowdown.
The U.S. unemployment rate held at 3.8%, its lowest level in nearly 50
years, indicating a full-employment economy, while annualized wage growth
eased a couple of points, to 3.2% from 3.4% in February, still the fastest
pace in about 10 years. All this points to still-strong underlying economic
growth, and allays investor concerns that the Federal Reserve might have
contemplated an interest rate cut instead of a hike later this year.
In Canada, the economy saw a modest decline in jobs, losing about 7,200 in
March, after six months of strong job gains that saw about 300,000 new jobs
added, with the unemployment rate remaining at a very comfortable 5.8%.
Wage growth also ticked up in March, rising at an annual rate of 2.3%,
compared with 2.2% in February. As in the U.S., the overall positive
Canadian jobs data, despite the weakness in March, generally allayed
investor concerns about a possible rate cut by the Bank of Canada.
Investors were further mollified by comments from Bank of Canada Governor
Stephen Poloz who indicated this past week that Canada would emerge from
this period of softer economic growth but that rates would continue
slightly below the neutral range.
Check Fund Library’s
Market Activity page
regularly for active updates on key market indexes and commodities.
– Follow Fund Library on
for daily information and updates.
© 2019 by Fund Library. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in
part by any means without prior written permission is prohibited.
The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion
of the writer. No guarantee of investment performance is made or implied.
It is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including,
without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice.