01/ Feb’19

Shares range-bound after huge jobs report, mixed earnings results

Economy added 312K jobs in December

FBN’s Edward Lawrence breaks down the December jobs report.

U.S. equities closed in a tight range Friday after a stunningly strong monthly jobs report and mixed earnings.

Before the opening bell, the government said American employers added an unexpectedly high number of jobs in January — 304,000 — soaring past Wall Street's expectations for an increase of 165,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate climbed to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, while the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 63.2 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 3 cents to $27.56. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 85 cents, or about 3.2 percent.

In other economic news, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rebounded in January to 56.6 percent from 54.3 percent in the prior month.

Readings over 50 percent indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking. Readings above 55 percent are seen as exceptional.

The Nasdaq Composite was weighed by Amazon shares, which fell after the giant online retailer issued discouraging sales guidancce.

Honeywell International shares rose on a better-than-expected quarterly profit and a full-year earnings forecast largely above analysts' estimates, as the company benefited from robust demand for aircraft parts.

Shares of Merck & Co  closed higher after the U.S. drugmaker reported quarterly profit that edged past estimates, helped by strong demand for its blockbuster cancer treatment Keytruda. The company, however, forecast muted 2019 revenue and earnings, joining major drugmakers such as Amgen Inc and Pfizer Inc that forecast disappointing profits for the year.

Exxon Mobil stock climbed after the oil giant said its Permian Basin oil and natural gas production rose on a year-over-year basis. The company's fourth-quarter net income fell to $6 billion, or $1.41 a share, from $8.38 billion a year ago, as margins weakened in its crude, chemicals and refining operations.

Chevron  reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts' estimates on higher prices and production. The company reported a profit of $3.7 billion, or $1.95 per share, compared with $3.11 billion, or $1.64 a share a year earlier Analysts' mean forecast was $1.87 a share, according to Refinitiv.

In Asian markets on Friday, Chinese shares rose ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holidays.

China’s Shanghai composite was up 1.3 percent on the day and ended 0.6 percent higher for the week.

Hong Kong’s  Hang Seng index eased less than 0.1 percent on the day and gained 1.3 percent for the week.

Japan’s Nikkei  average ended just 0.07 percent higher on the session, but for the week dropped 0.1 percent.

In Europe, the major markets closed higher. London’s FTSE gained 0.7 percent, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1 percent and France’s CAC added 0.5 percent.

FOX Business' Ken Martin contributed to this report.