Employment Growth Pushes Stocks Higher (Bloomberg)
Stocks rose again today, this time on the back of data showing forecast-beating jobs growth and an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate. “People are starting to hire, and in fact they have been hiring for a few quarters,” Carla Ann Harris, managing director and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley, said. “Some of the caution with respect to the payrolls is starting to abate. You’ll probably see a faster pace as people start to move towards growth as opposed to maintaining the status quo because of the uncertainty they feel in the market.”
Fitch Cut’s Italy Rating in Election Aftermath (CNBC)
Today, Fitch Ratings cut Italy’s sovereign credit rating by one notch down to BBB plus, due to political uncertainty caused by that nation’s inconclusive election, as well as rising debt. “The inconclusive results of the Italian parliamentary elections on February 24-25 make it unlikely that a stable new government can be formed in the next few weeks,” Fitch said.
Dollar Rises against Yen, Euro (Reuters)
Today’s strong jobs data also led to a surge in the dollar, as it rose to its best position against the yen in three and a half years and a three-month high versus the euro. “The data fits the story of an economy that has weathered the early stages of the fiscal drag extremely well,” said Sean Cotton, vice president and foreign exchange advisor at Bank of the West in San Ramon, California.