Jobs Report, Apple Results Buoy Stocks

By David Hodari and Riva Gold Features Dow Jones Newswires

US stock futures rise slightly after jobs report

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-- Apple jumps in premarket trading

-- Spanish stocks drop on political tensions

U.S. stock futures ticked up slightly after the October jobs report, even as the pace of hiring proved slower than anticipated and wages failed to break out.

Futures pointed to a 0.2% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, up from a 0.1% gain ahead of the report. Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.6%, as technology companies jumped after Apple reported better-than-expected results. Apple said late Thursday that it delivered its best quarterly growth in two years.

Apple shares jumped 4.3% in premarket trading after climbing 45% so far in 2017, playing a large role in this year's rally in U.S. stocks.

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Global technology shares mostly moved higher in concert, also supported by upbeat results from Alibaba and other U.S. tech giants earlier this week. In Europe, shares of chip-gear firm ASML Holding rose 1.2%, chip maker Infineon Technologies added 1.8% and semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics climbed 2%. In Taiwan, shares of Largan Precision were up 3.6% and Hon Hai Precision Industry gained 0.4%.

In the U.S., attention turned to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, a key indicator of the strength of the economy. The report showed a gain of 261,000 jobs in October, a pickup from the prior month, but below the 315,000 jobs expected by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. The closely watched wage growth figure showed wages rose 2.4% from a year earlier, a slowdown from the prior month.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which weighs the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, declined 0.1% following the report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.338%, from 2.347% ahead of the report. Yields fall as prices rise.

On Friday, investors also continued to parse the details of a Republican tax bill and the nomination of Fed governor Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the central bank.

The Dow industrials fell more than 80 points Thursday after a detailed summary of the tax plan was reported, but the blue-chip index climbed later in the session to end higher.

"We think tax reform is more likely than the market thinks it is," said Jon Adams, investment strategist with BMO Global Asset Management, noting expectations for a tax cut in 2018 are one of the reasons for the asset manager's modest preference for equities over bonds.

Still, "this is a very fluid process and it's likely that there will be a lot of change to what is currently being proposed," he added.

In Europe, Spanish bank shares fell, dragging Spain's IBEX 35 down 1.3%. A prosecutor asked a Spanish court on Thursday to issue an arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, the leader of Catalonia's secessionist movement who fled to Belgium to escape authorities in Spain.

"I don't think [Catalonia] is played out yet -- the [request for] arrests have probably inflamed the situation and there's no doubt going to be a populist response to arrests," said Gautam Batra, head of investments at Mediolanum Asset Management.

The British pound edged up 0.3% to $1.3101 after its biggest daily decline since June. The Bank of England on Thursday raised interest rates for the first time in more than 10 years but signaled that further increases weren't imminent, causing the pound to slump 1.4% against the U.S. dollar.

"More important than the decision were the comments during the press conference and inflation report, which were quite dovish," said Markus Stadlmann, chief investment officer at Lloyds Banking Group. "There are so many moving parts with regards to the economic situation for the U.K. at the moment that for investors, we have to take it step by step."

Asia-Pacific equities were little changed ahead

Chinese tech giant Tencent rose 1.7% to a fresh record after peer Alibaba reported positive quarterly results. The gain helped Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index -- of which Tencent is the largest component -- rise 0.3%.

-Corrie Driebusch contributed to this article

Write to David Hodari at David.Hodari@dowjones.com and Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2017 09:08 ET (13:08 GMT)