US jobs surge, tech concerns whiplash stocks and send dollar higher

4:16 pm on 5 February 2023, Sunday

A surge in hiring in the United States renewed worries about aggressive interest rate hikes on Friday, bolstering the dollar and whiplashing Wall Street stocks.

Meanwhile, disappointing earnings reports from Apple, Amazon, and Google owner Alphabet added to unease about the outlook for the crucial tech sector after torrid growth early in the pandemic.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which piled on more than three percent Thursday thanks to forecast-beating results from Facebook parent Meta, led major US indices lower, falling 1.6 percent.

Shares of Amazon and Google parent Alphabet both tumbled Friday, while Apple shook off early weakness and finished higher.

Data showing that after a five-month slowdown in hiring, the world's biggest economy added 517,000 jobs in January, may have dented hopes that the US Federal Reserve could slow interest rate hikes further or even reverse them later this year.

"The key takeaway from the report is that it has the market questioning its own conviction about the prospect of the Fed cutting rates before the end of the year, " said market analyst Patrick O'Hare at

The dollar bounded higher after the data was released, and the yield on US government bonds climbed higher.

But the jobs figures and other recent data also helped relieve concerns about a recession.

In Europe, London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index on Friday soared to a record peak, lifted by the weak pound and record annual profits at oil major Shell.

"A Friday feeling of optimism has surged through markets, pushing the FTSE 100 to a record high after US jobs growth powered ahead, and investors shrugged off recession worries," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

Frankfurt stocks ended the day lower but Paris finished with a gain.

In Asia, shares in Indian conglomerate Adani fell further.

Beleaguered Indian tycoon Gautam Adani on Friday denied that his rise to become Asia's richest man -- a title he has lost in a phenomenal stock rout this week -- was due to his connections with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Combined market capitalization in Adani's listed units has collapsed by about $120 billion -- or half their previous value -- since US short-seller Hindenburg Research, which makes money by betting on shares falling, released an explosive report last week.

It accused Adani of accounting fraud and artificially boosting its share prices, calling it a "brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme" and "the largest con in corporate history".

Critics say Adani's close relationship with Modi, who is also from Gujarat state, has helped him win business and avoid proper oversight.

Adani on Friday called the allegations "baseless".


© Agence France-Presse


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