The night’s key economic focus was the September US non-farm payrolls report, and in somewhat of a surprise, the nation’s jobless rate fell sharply from 8.1% to 7.8%.
Whilst the number of jobs added came in line with estimates, the figures for July and August were both revised upwards, suggesting the employment market wasn’t in as a bad shape as initially feared.
The good news on the US economic front wasn’t enough to sustain the gains on Wall Street, with the benchmark indices fading from their highs after Spain’s Prime Minister again refused to say whether he will formally request a sovereign bailout.
The Dow Jones added 35 points (+0.3%), settling at 13610, whilst the S&P500 closed flat and the Nasdaq slipped 0.4%. The gains were more pronounced in Europe, with the FTSE climbing 43 points (+0.7%), the French CAC rising 1.3% and the German DAX soaring 1.6%.
Most commodities weakened as the US jobs numbers diminished the prospect for further monetary easing. Gold backed off $1800 an ounce and copper ended a touch weaker.
The wild swings in oil continued, with crude sinking two percent to $89.88 a barrel. Oil has now capped off a third consecutive week of declines on concerns current prices are too high for the amount of supply on the market.
In the currency space, the US dollar climbed off its lows against a number of other currencies, whilst the euro stayed higher on speculation Spain will eventually ask for financial aid.
The Aussie took another dive, ending below 102 US cents after a week in which the RBA cut interest rates and Australia’s trade deficit blew out to its highest since March 2008. In local economic news, the ANZ Job Advertisements Survey is due for release at 10:30am, AEDT.