By Aaron Kuriloff and Georgi Kantchev
The Dow Jones Industrial Average came within one point of 20000 -- a milestone it has never reached -- after a solid jobs report Friday.
The blue-chip index was recently up 94 points, or 0.5%, at 19993 after climbing as high as 19999.63. The S&P 500 gained 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.9%.
The dollar strengthened and government bond prices fell. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of 16 others, rose 1.1%. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.423%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.370% Thursday. Yields rise as prices fall.
Expectations of a higher-growth, higher-rate environment under President-elect Donald Trump have fueled a broad stock rally and helped push the dollar to its highest level in 14 years, while also sending government bond yields higher since the November election.
Friday's jobs report was mixed but largely in line with those expectations. The U.S. added a seasonally adjusted 156,000 in December from the prior month, the Labor Department said Friday, a slowdown from November. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7% but is still historically low. Wages posted the biggest annual gain in more than seven years, rising 2.9% in December.
"This report was a little weaker than the average jobs growth in 2016, but not so much to suggest an overall weakening in the jobs situation," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. "It gives investors one more indicator suggesting the economy continues to grow, and that's good news for stocks."
Investors have said stocks' postelection rally has been spurred by more than hopes for business-friendly policies under the new administration. Earnings for S&P 500 companies returned to growth in the third quarter, after five straight quarters of declines from the year-earlier period, according to FactSet. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of U.S. economic output, expanded at a 3.5% inflation and seasonally-adjusted rate in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department, its strongest pace in two years. And U.S. crude oil prices are back above $50 a barrel, easing some pressure on energy companies.
On Friday, U.S. crude oil was up 0.1% at $53.83 a barrel, and gold fell 0.7% to $1,172.50 an ounce.
Earlier, the Stoxx Europe 600 declined less than 0.1%, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2%.
Investors were also watching China's yuan, which surged in recent days after a prolonged selloff. Beijing has been fighting to control the currency's recent descent and on Friday guided the yuan 0.9% stronger against the dollar, its biggest increase since 2005.
The yuan slipped in offshore markets, underscoring the difficulty of the task for Chinese authorities, as many investors still expect the yuan to decline in the long run.
Write to Aaron Kuriloff at firstname.lastname@example.org and Georgi Kantchev at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 06, 2017 14:37 ET (19:37 GMT)
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