US job figures boost trading: Morning market insights

US stocks rose slightly on Saturday as short-term concerns over Greece eased and more positive US jobs figures kept markets in positive territory. The United States Department of Labor released figures that showed nonfarm payroll rose by 227,000 in February. The US unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3% but employment rose in professional and businesses services, healthcare, social assistance, leisure, hospitality, manufacturing and mining.

Wall Street

On the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.11% or 14.08 points to 12922.00. The S&P500 Index was up 0.36% to 1370.87. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Index was up 0.60%, or 17.92 points, to 2988.34.

One of the world’s biggest banks, JP Morgan Chase, was up sharply in early trading on the news from Greece, but eased during the day to finish up 1.46% to $US41.03.

The oil price was up over the weekend amid lingering concerns and sabre-rattling over Iran. Royal Dutch Shell (LON: RDSB) announced it would cease buying oil from Iran before Europe’s embargo came into effect in July. Gains in oil futures were curbed by a rally in the US dollar on the back of the jobs data. A stronger greenback makes the dollar-denominated crude more expensive for holders of other currencies, denting demand.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price rose over the weekend and is now trading 0.77% up at US$107.40 a barrel. Gold was up 0.75% overnight  to US$1711.50 an ounce.

The Australian dollar fell over the weekend as positive US jobs data boosted the greenback. One Australian dollar is buying $US1.0558 this morning.

Europe

UK and European indexes finished slightly up on Saturday morning. Glasgow-based Aggreko PLC (LSE: AGK), the world’s largest temporary power generation supplier, was up a solid 3.96%, leading gains in London.

London FTSE 100 closed up 0.47% overnight to 5887.49.

The German DAX closed up 0.67%, or 45.67 points, to 6880.21.

The European blue-chip Stoxx50 index closed up 0.07% to 2515.95.

Treasurer: We need to find savings

Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday that the Australian government needed to find “significant savings” in the May budget to reach its goal of a surplus in 2012/13.

“One of the lingering effects of the global financial crisis has been a massive write-down of tax receipts,” Swan wrote in his economic note on Sunday. “This will inevitably flow through to the budget bottom line and obviously means we will have to find significant savings in the May budget.”

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