STORY: U.S. stocks rallied on Friday. Investors cheered a vote in the U.S. Senate advancing a bill forestalling a potentially catastrophic debt default. Another boost came from the Labor Department’s jobs report that showed strong hiring and signaled inflation may be ebbing.
The Dow jumped more than two percent, The S&P 500 added about one-and-one-half percent and the Nasdaq rose a little over one percent, finishing its sixth straight week of gains which is its best winning streak in more than three years.
The Senate passage of the debt deal follows the approval of the agreement from the House, so the legislation now heads to U.S. President Joe Biden for his signature.
The jobs report from the labor department showed the economy added 80 percent more jobs than predicted. Unemployment also rose, and average hourly earnings for workers grew at a slower pace, which is a positive sign according to Riverfront Investment Group Senior Market Strategist Rebecca Felton.
“Well, we believe we are seeing some moderating and wage pressures. You know the average hourly earnings ticked down just a little bit. Employment Cost Index has been moving somewhat in the right direction, and that’s positive for employers. You’re also seeing layoffs tick up slightly, so there’s less pressure on employers to pay up as they hire new workers or pay existing workers more, which is one of the complaints that we have seen across all sizes of companies both small and large. Inflationary pressures are still there, particularly in the sticky area.”
“So while the Fed leaders over the past few weeks have signaled a likely pause in June, they’ve also said don’t read into that too much as it relates to them changing policy. So we do ultimately expect another 25-basis point rate hike later on this year.”
Financial markets see about a 70-percent chance that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates on hold at its meeting later this month. Though the odds of a rate hike at the July meeting are about the same.