A strong report on the U.S. labor market helped stocks rally at the expense of safe-haven assets on Friday.
Wall St futures were up sharply while the gold price slipped 0.1% to about $1,320/oz.
The yellow metal recovered from a one-month low in earlier trading.
In the meantime, the rest of the precious metals were essentially back where they started on Thursday.
The silver price reversed losses to trade up 0.33% (+5¢) to $16.52/oz. Palladium added 0.3% (+$3) to roughly $980/oz.
Platinum was just above unchanged at $953/oz (+0.2%).
Strong NFP, Tariffs, and Possible Korean Summit
Friday’s much-anticipated nonfarm payrolls (NFP) soundly beat analysts’ expectations.
The report from the Department of Labor showed that 313,000 new jobs were created during February. This is the biggest gain for nonfarm employment in about 18 months.
The national unemployment rate didn’t budge, suggesting greater labor market participation.
However, the soft spot in the NFP was wage growth, which remained somewhat sluggish.
President Trump made his announced tariffs on steel and aluminum official during a meeting with workers from both industries yesterday.
He did leave leeway for certain countries and products to be carved out of the policy. It would seem to be a strategic move to get America’s foreign partners to negotiate exemptions from the tariffs.
In other news, markets were surprised (and apparently optimistic) about a proposed meeting between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
No sitting U.S. president has ever met with a North Korean leader.
Recap of Thursday’s Market Action
Yesterday saw European stocks advance about 1%. The FTSE 100 in London gained 0.6%.
Wall St traded modestly higher, putting the Dow Jones back into positive territory year-to-date.
Bonds saw demand nonetheless, continuing the trend of bonds moving in the same direction as the stock market.
Traders were digesting details from the Fed Beige Book, a monthly report from the central bank, which was released on Wednesday.
Commodities were down for the most part on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slumped nearly 1.4% and copper closed down almost 1.9%.
The losses were due partly to a stronger dollar. The Bloomberg DXY index was up 0.55% to above 90.1.
The precious metals fared better, only slipping about 0.3%.
Both the euro (-0.8% to $1.23) and pound sterling (-0.6% to $1.38) gave back their recent gains against the dollar.
Market Anxieties Ease on Friday, Sentiment Shifts to Risk-On
Stock markets in Asia rallied on the possibility of a Trump-Kim meeting in the near future. It’s a reassuring sign for U.S. partners in the region, particularly South Korea and Japan.
The U.S. dollar held onto its gains, trading in positive territory around 90.2 on the DXY index.
The Japanese yen posted the steepest losses against the USD, trading down 0.6%—its biggest decline in two weeks—to ¥106.9 per dollar.
After the ECB met on Thursday, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided to leave policy unchanged at its meeting on Friday. Otherwise, the central bank offered less clear guidance than its European counterpart did yesterday.
Shares were also higher in Europe during Friday’s session.
There was selling pressure in bond markets in the eurozone and the U.S. alike. The 10-year T-note yield was back up three basis points to 2.89%.
Oil prices rebounded better than 1.3% but were still down for the week. WTI crude traded just shy of $61 per barrel.
Bitcoin hit a three-and-a-half-week low below $9,000, as well.
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