Markets outlook remains clouded after US jobs report

Global stocks and bond prices fell after a key US jobs report painted a mixed picture of the US labour market and left investors with a muddled view on rate-hike prospects.

Markets outlook remains clouded after US jobs report

With the slide in oil keeping up the pressure, the outlook for stock markets following one of their rockiest starts to the year since the crash, remains clouded.

“US job numbers fail to excite,” said Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG.

“The lowest US jobless rate for eight years was not enough to inspire markets to rally this afternoon, which is perhaps indicative of the lack of risk appetite that still prevails,” he added.

The dollar rose, rebounding after two days of losses, and sterling fell as investors bet the Bank of England would keep UK rates at a record low for longer.

Adding to sterling’s woes was a rise in concern that Britain may quit the EU, following an opinion poll.

In the week, sterling was up against the dollar and down versus the euro. It fell 1% against the euro, and gained 1.7% to the dollar, the most in five months.

While crude rallied 14% in the final two weeks of last month, it’s still down about 15% this year amid Iran’s efforts to boost exports after the removal of sanctions, and brimming US crude stockpiles.

The slump in prices has slashed earnings from Royal Dutch Shell to Chevron, while Exxon Mobil has reduced its drilling budget to a 10-year low.

Brent crude was down at $34.38 (€30.88) a barrel.

While US non-farm payrolls increased by just 151,000 jobs last month, well below forecasts of 190,000, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, the lowest since February 2008, and there was a sharp rise in wages.

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