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The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 750 points Friday, more than erasing its losses one day earlier, as a stock market hungry for good news received two morsels: a stronger-than-expected jobs report and comments from the Federal Reserve Chairman that signaled more flexibility in raising interest rates.
The Dow rallied 3.3% to 24,433.16, with the S&P 500 Index rising 3.4% to 2,531.94. Technology stocks, which have been especially volatile in recent months, were among the biggest gaining. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4.3% to 6,738.86.
Apple’s stock rose 4.3% to $ 148.26 two days after the company warned that a slowdown in China and overall iPhone sales would cause its revenue in the holiday quarter to fall well short of analyst expectations. Before Friday, Apple had lost 39% of the peak value it reached in early October.
The tech sector was the best performing subset of the S&P 500, rising 4%. Many large-cap tech stocks rose even further, with Amazon gaining 5%, Microsoft rising 4.7%, Alphabet advancing 5.1% and Netflix surging 9.7%. Since a market selloff on Christmas Eve, Netflix has gained 27%.
Early Friday, the Labor Department said that U.S. employers added the most workers in 10 months as wage gains accelerated and labor-force participation jumped, suggesting the underlying economy is holding up amid falling stock prices.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 312,000 in December, surpassing analyst forecasts. Average hourly earnings rose 3.2% year over year, the fastest pace since 2009. The unemployment rate inched up from a five-decade low to 3.9% as more people entered the labor market to find work.
The stock rally advanced further after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated at a conference in Atlanta that the Fed may pause from raising interest rates in the coming months. “With the muted inflation readings that we’ve seen coming in, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves,” Powell said. The remarks were received as more dovish than some of Powell’s recent comments, which have drawn the ire of President Trump.
Both developments were welcome in a market that had been bracing for more bad news. Apple’s revenue revision had led investors to worry about more disappointing earnings later this month. A Thursday report also showed manufacturing activity was slowing faster than expected. But investors took the jobs report in particular as a sign that the economy is holding up.
“No matter what the Fed’s going to do this year, today’s number showed that even though the Fed may still raise rates once or twice this year, it showed that a recession is still not very likely this year,” said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. “Recessionary fears were really starting to grow but today’s number eased those fears.”
TOKYO (Reuters) – Flea market app operator Mercari Inc’s shares surged 100 percent in their Tokyo stock market debut on Tuesday, hitting their daily limit high, underscoring strong investor appetite for a rare Japanese unicorn bent on U.S. expansion.
Shares rose as high as 6,000 yen in early afternoon trade, valuing the company at as much as $ 7.4 billion. That made it the most valuable firm on the Tokyo bourse’s Mothers market for startups, ahead of games and social network company Mixi Inc and robotics firm Cyberdyne Inc.
A popular smartphone app that allows people to trade used items online, Mercari has been downloaded 71 million times in Japan where it has 10.5 million active users. It makes money by charging sellers commission, and expects sales to jump 62 percent to 35.8 billion yen ($ 325.93 million) this financial year.
Mercari shares already look expensive, said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan. While the app is well known in Japan and still growing, it is likely to face more competition at home, he said, with companies such as Rakuten Inc and Start Today Co Ltd offering used-goods services.
Mercari shares were trading at 5,350 yen at 13:00 local time (0400 GMT).
Its initial public offering, the biggest in Japan this year, raised $ 1.2 billion through the sale of around a third of Mercari’s shares, with the majority bought by overseas investors.
The company is profitable at home but is losing money in the United States, where its expansion plans are being headed by former Facebook Inc executive John Lagerling.
Its U.S. expansion dragged it to a net loss of 4.2 billion yen in the last financial year through June 2017, with a further loss of 3.4 billion in the nine months to March as the company committed funds to improving its brand recognition through advertising.
“We can’t be successful globally without success in the U.S.,” Chief Executive and founder Shintaro Yamada told Reuters in April.
In a country that has many successful giant corporations but lacks a vibrant startup culture, Mercari gained attention as one of Japan’s two unicorns – startups with valuations above $ 1 billion – according to data provider CB Insights. The other is information technology startup Preferred Networks Inc.
Mercari’s growing popularity as Japanese shoppers shed their inhibitions about buying and selling used goods has seen it join the ranks of companies such as Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co Ltd that have grown by appealing to consumers’ economizing instincts.
The app has outperformed rivals with its focus on mobile, its ease of use – with users able to trade goods with just a few taps – and by offering anonymity to its privacy conscious Japanese audience.
Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Christopher Cushing
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