Wall St off to a solid start in April

  • 02/04/2016
(Reuters)
(Reuters)

Wall Street has extended a seven-week rally after upbeat US jobs and factory data raised hope of stronger corporate earnings.

The Labor Department's report showed a rise of 215,000 in nonfarm payrolls in March, while the unemployment rate rose to five per cent from an eight-year low of 4.9 percent as more Americans entered the labour force.

Another report showing the US manufacturing sector resumed growth in March.

"It's a very solid number overall, but I don't think it changes anything as far as the Fed's outlook," said Jon Adams, a senior investment strategist and portfolio manager at BMO in Chicago.

Wall Street has been concerned about tepid corporate earnings and will keep a close eye on the quarterly reports that start rolling in coming weeks.

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies' first-quarter earnings to fall seven percent year over year, with energy companies weighing heavily, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"We don't think P/E (prices to earnings) ratios are going anywhere," said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group, adding that he believes the S&P 500 is fairly valued. "For this year, we think it's going to be a tough slog."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.61 per cent to end at 17,792.75 points and the S&P 500 gained 0.63 percent to 2072.78,

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.92 percent to 4914.54.

For the week, the S&P climbed 1.8 per cent, the Dow added 1.6 percent and the Nasdaq jumped three percent.

AAP