Record job growth powers Wall Street, Nasdaq hits all-time high

(Reuters) – Wall Street opened higher on Thursday, with the Nasdaq hitting an all-time high as data showed the U.S. economy added jobs at a record pace in June, the latest signal of a rebound in business activity following the easing of coronavirus-led lockdowns.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 4.8 million jobs in June, the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment data showed, the most since the government began keeping records in 1939, although a recent surge in COVID-19 cases has threatened the fledgling recovery.

All 11 major S&P sectors were trading higher and gains were led by financials, basic materials and energy stocks.

“The strong rebound would normally be an unambiguously positive sign that a recovery is under way (but) it is being accompanied by a sharp rise in new infections, which was what caused the collapse in the first place,” said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management in London.

“It is therefore too soon to say for certain that this recovery in employment sounds the all-clear for investors.”

Several states are scaling back or pausing reopenings to tackle the spike in infections and analysts have warned of another selloff in financial markets if the damage to Corporate America mounts.

Third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are now expected to tumble 25%, compared with a forecast of a 2.7% drop on April 1, according to Refinitiv data. In the second quarter, earnings are forecast to have plunged 43%.

“People are less concerned about earnings than they are about the guidance and what companies say about the next six months and 2021,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital Llc in New York.

At 10:10 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 431.49 points, or 1.68%, at 26,166.46, the S&P 500 was up 46.08 points, or 1.48%, at 3,161.94, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 147.27 points, or 1.45%, at 10,301.90.

Tesla Inc jumped 8.5% and was set for a fourth straight session of gains after beating Wall Street estimates for second-quarter vehicle deliveries.

Travel-related stocks were also among the biggest gainers, with cruise line operators Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd rising more than 2%.

Coty Inc added 5.3% after it named former top executive of L’Oreal, Sue Nabi, as its chief executive officer.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners more than 8-to-1 on the NYSE and 3-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 30 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 84 new highs and six new lows.

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