6 Dec 2008

Wall Street up despite dismal jobs data

12:03 pm on 6 December 2008

Stocks in the United States climbed on Friday despite news of the worst job cuts in 34 years last month.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 259.18 points, or 3.09%, at 8,635.42.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 30.85 points, or 3.65%, at 876.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 63.75 points, or 4.41%, at 1,509.31.

The market fell sharply in early trade after the Labor Department reported the US economy lost 533,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate jumped to 6.7%.

The Labor Department revised the number of jobs lost in October and September. An estimated 10.3 million Americans are out of work.

Stocks swung between positive and negative territory before settling into a late-session upward drive.

All bu two of the 30 stocks listed on the Dow closed higher, led by discount retailer Wal-Mart Stores. General Motors Corp and AT&T were the only stocks to decline.

Other markets

Earlier, European stocks fell due to the dire US unemployment data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 4% at 793.94 points.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4381.47 points, down 182.76 or 4%.

In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 2988.01 points, down 173.15 or 5.48%. The Swiss market closed at 5530.84 points, down 118.3 or 2.09%.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 closed 114.24 points lower, 2.7%, at 4,049.37. The index is down 37.3% to date this year.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank lowered interest rates by 75 basis points to 2.5%, while the Bank of England cut rates by 100 basis points to 2%.

In Japan, the Nikkei was down 0.1%. The index has lost some 48% to date this year.

However, shares rose 2.5% in Hong Kong on speculation that Beijing may further ease interest rates and cut reserve requirements on bank deposits.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 336.31 points at 13,846.09.

Australia & NZ

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index lost 42.5 points to close at 3,489.9, The index lost 6.8%, or 252.6 points, over the week.

The All Ordinaries reversed 40.9 points, or 1.18%, to 3,427.2.

National turnover was 1.2 billion shares worth $A3.74 billion.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 was 23 points lower, or 0.88%, to 2706.

Top stocks were all lower: Telecom shed 7 cents to $2.32, Contact Energy slid 14c to $6.85, while Fletcher Building was down 1c to $5.62.