Stock market closes week at gain

July 5, 2013

The stock market closed higher for the week, boosted by a better-than-expected jobs report Friday.

Treasury bond prices sank Friday, sending the 10-year yield to the highest intra-day level since August 2011, and the dollar climbed to its highest level since 2010.

Stocks fluctuated amid light trading following the July Fourth holiday but climbed in the last hours before the markets closed.

The S&P 500 gained 1.02 percent to 1,632 points, up 1.6 percent for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average grew 0.98 percent, closing at 15,136 , adding 1.5 percent for the week. The NASDAQ Composite Index gained 1.04 percent and closed at 3,479 , gaining 2.2 percent for the week.

Friday’s jobs report fueled bets that the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce its bond-buying program known as quantitative easing as early as September. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last month that policymakers may “moderate” their asset-purchase program later this year and may end it mid-2014 if economic growth meets forecasts.

The Fed has indicated that it will start “tapering” its stimulus when it sees a sustainable recovery in the employment market. “The employment report, one of the trends that the Fed has identified, is evidence that the economy is gaining strength and that it won’t need as much quantitative easing in the future,” said Robert Shapiro, chairman of the economic policy advisory firm Sonecon.

Most economists surveyed in a Bloomberg poll last month expected the central bank to reduce the pace of its asset purchases at its mid-September meeting. Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase, who predicted the Fed would wait until December, wrote in a note to clients that he now thinks it will start reducing its asset purchases in September.

However, Jamie Cox, managing partner of Richmond-based Harris Financial Group, noted that even though the jobs report is “great news,” it “does not accelerate one bit” the Fed’s decision to reduce its bond-buying program. He said it will take a couple of positive job reports, in August and September, before the Fed can be sure there is sustainable growth in the employment market before acting.

The rate on the 10-year U.S. note climbed as much as 21 basis points to 2.72 percent, the highest since Aug. 2, 2011. The Dollar Index, which tracks the currency against six major currencies, rose 1.4 percent to 84.43 and touched a three-year high of 84.53.

“The strength of the dollar reflects the rising interest rates, but, frankly, it reflects even more the weakness of the alternatives, especially of the euro” as well as the fears of a slowdown in China, Shapiro said.

The dollar appreciated 0.6 percent against the euro, to $1.2837 per euro. It briefly touched $1.2806, its strongest level since May 17, strengthened by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s pledge Thursday to keep rates at a record low for an extended period. Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.9 percent to 100.93 yen after reaching 101.14 in intra-day trading, the highest level since May 31.

Gold futures fell 3 percent to a one-week low of $1,214.50 an ounce as the dollar’s rise eroded the appeal of gold as an alternative investment. Gold slid 23 percent last quarter. However, gold traders have been the most bullish in the past month due to political instability in Portugal that raised concern that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen.

Market volatility has decreased, according to an equity volatility index, which slid 0.2 percent Friday to 16.17. The gauge has been declining since June 20, when it reached its highest level this year at 21.32.

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