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Global stocks, oil jump on U.S. job gains, Europe optimism


UNITED STATES – World stocks rallied, U.S. oil jumped nearly 5 percent and the euro surged on Friday on news U.S. employers increased hiring in July by the most in five months and on renewed optimism that Europe was closer to action on its debt crisis.

Investors took a second look at Thursday’s statement by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and concluded that help was on the way, even though it would take more time than many hoped.

The U.S. jobs report showed stronger-than-expected hiring but also a rise in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, which keeps alive the hope of further support for the economy from the Federal Reserve.

The jobs data came at the end of a volatile week, packed with Fed and ECB policy meetings that disappointed those hoping for more aid for the U.S. economy and Europe’s debt-stricken nations.

The news dispelled some investors’ worst fears about the economy, said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York.

“People got very worried over the last weeks … but it looks like the U.S. economy is not falling off the face of the earth.”

The euro rose as high as $1.2392 on Reuters data and was last up 1.6 percent at $1.2370. The dollar gained 0.5 percent against the yen, to 78.60 yen, after hitting a two-week high of 78.77, according to Reuters data.

The ECB indicated on Thursday it may start buying government bonds again to reduce crippling borrowing costs for Spain and Italy, but Draghi hinted that any intervention would not come before September.

“A lot of market participants began to rethink yesterday’s ECB statement and look at it from a more positive perspective. Overall, a lot of investors thought, ‘maybe it’s not as bad as it originally sounded,'” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

Spain inched closer to seeking a sovereign bailout on Friday, but Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he needed first to know the conditions as well as the form any European Union rescue would take.

The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was last up 1.9 percent. European shares .FTEU3 ended 2.5 percent higher.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rallied to its highest level since early May. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 217.29 points, or 1.69 percent, at 13,096.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 25.99 points, or 1.90 percent, at 1,390.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 58.13 points, or 2.00 percent, at 2,967.90.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday sent a stronger signal that a new round of major support could be on the way if the recovery did not pick up.

In the oil market, NYMEX September crude settled at $91.40 a barrel, jumping 4.9 percent, front-month crude’s biggest one-day gain since June 29. The unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs growth in July sparked upbeat sentiment on the oil demand outlook.

Brent crude rose $3.04, or 2.87 percent, to settle at $108.94.

Gold also climbed, with spot gold up 0.9 percent at $1,604.10 an ounce.

U.S. Treasury prices fell as benchmark yields flirted with their highest levels in a month after a better-than-expected domestic jobs report spurred investors to reduce safe-haven holdings of U.S. government debt.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were 25/32 lower in price at 101-21/32 for a yield of 1.565 percent, up 9 basis points from late on Thursday.

The day’s other U.S. data showed the pace of growth in the vast U.S. services sector edged up in July as new orders gained traction.

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