Stocks rise as job growth stays strong through July

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT -

Banks and other stocks climbed Fri­day af­ter the gov­ern­ment re­ported more gains in hir­ing last month, the lat­est sign that the econ­omy is continuing to hum along. The mod­est gains wrapped up an­other quiet week for the stock mar­ket.

In­vestors sold gov­ern­ment bonds and bet that in­ter­est rates will rise. Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies rose. Weight Watch­ers soared af­ter re­port­ing a strong quar­ter. Vi­a­com, the me­dia com­pany that owns Com­edy Cen­tral and MTV, sank.

July was the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive month of strong hir­ing, sug­gest­ing that the U.S. econ­omy is still grow­ing steadily as coun­tries in Europe and less de­vel­oped ar­eas come out of long slumps.

“The econ­omy is in pretty good shape,” said Paul Zem­sky, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer for the multi-as­set busi­ness of Voya Fi­nan­cial. “We’re see­ing, for the first time, more of a glob­ally syn­chro­nized growth.”

He said that will lead to a stronger global econ­omy and will help Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and stocks if growth in the U.S. fal­ters.

Bond prices dropped, send­ing yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note climbed to 2.26% from 2.22% as in­vestors con­cluded it is more likely the Fed­eral Re­serve will raise in­ter­est rates again this year.

Higher in­ter­est rates en­able banks to make more money on loans. Bank of Amer­ica shares climbed 2.5% to $24.98. KeyCorp ticked up 2.1% to $18.40.

De­spite the gains Fri­day and the Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age’s nine-day win­ning streak, most stocks have hardly moved over the last two weeks. The mar­ket barely re­acted to news Thurs­day that spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller im­pan­eled a grand jury as he con­tin­ues to in­ves­ti­gate Rus­sia’s med­dling in the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Food de­liv­ery com­pany Grub­hub and on­line re­view site Yelp both jumped af­ter Grub­hub moved to ex­pand its busi­ness by buy­ing Yelp’s Eat24 unit. Yelp soared 27.7% to $40.05. Grub­hub jumped 9.1% to $52.62.

GoPro leaped 19.2% to $9.85 af­ter the maker of ac­tion video cam­eras posted sales that were much stronger than ex­pected.

Weight Watch­ers In­ter­na­tional soared 25.1% to $41.39 af­ter it blew past an­a­lysts’ ex­pec­ta­tions and raised its fore­casts for the year. The com­pany said it had 20% more sub­scribers at the end of June than it did a year ear­lier. Weight Watch­ers was worth less than $7 a share when Oprah Win­frey bought a 10% stake in 2015 and ap­peared in an ad for the com­pany.

Vi­a­com sank 13.8% to $30.22 af­ter it re­ported trou­ble with a fi­nanc­ing deal with a Chi­nese com­pany and a drop in sub­scribers to its ca­ble net­works last quar­ter, as well as say­ing that in the cur­rent quar­ter, it ex­pects a de­cline in the fees it re­ceives from ca­ble com­pa­nies that carry its net­works.

Among other ca­ble net­work com­pa­nies, Twenty-First Cen­tury Fox fell 1.3% to $28.46. Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­ni­ca­tions slid 4.1% to $23.73.

Bench­mark U.S. crude rose 55 cents, or 1.1%, to $49.58 a bar­rel. Brent crude added 41 cents to $52.42 a bar­rel. Wholesale gaso­line rose 1 cent to $1.65 a gal­lon. Heat­ing oil gained 1 cent to $1.65 a gal­lon. Nat­u­ral gas lost 3 cents to $2.77 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

The dol­lar rose to 110.67 yen from 110.06 yen. The euro fell to $1.1769 from $1.1866.

Gold fell $9.80 to $1,264.60 an ounce. Sil­ver dropped 38 cents, or 2.3%, to $16.25 an ounce. Cop­per rose 1 cent to $2.89 a pound.

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