Even though a computer error halted Nasdaq trading for three hours, stocks pushed higher today, thanks in part to data showing an improving jobs market. “The employment numbers were encouraging and showed a continuation of slow growth in employment,” Paul Mangus, head of equity strategy and research for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina, said. “There are signs of stabilization in China and improvement in Europe, which could help U.S. multinationals in the long run.”
Yesterday’s release of minutes from a recent meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve has given investors more confidence that the Fed could reduce its stimulus as soon as September. As a result, the dollar rose today for the second consecutive session. “The Fed tapering theme continues. Yesterday’s Fed minutes reinforced expectations that the Fed will taper its quantitative easing program in September and today’s jobless claims didn’t really change that,” said Greg Moore, currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto.
Encouraging data from Europe and China propelled European stocks higher today after enduring a recent losing streak, as investors around the world prepare for the eventual reduction in U.S. Federal Reserve stimulus. “We’ve been seeing this for the last four or five months in Europe,” Richard Jerram, chief economist at the Bank of Singapore, said. “It does seem that as the headwinds from fiscal tightening fade, then the economies are starting to lift.”