Stocks rise after February jobs report

Stocks rose on Friday after the February jobs report showed a rise in the unemployment rate, bolstering investor confidence that the Federal Reserve will cut rates following its June meeting.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.2% after another record close on Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was flat. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC ) added 0.3% after sharp gains earlier in the day.

Friday's nonfarm payrolls report showed the U.S. economy added 275,000 jobs in February, again beating Wall Street expectations. However, the unemployment rate remained at 3.9%, its first increase in four months. Futures on the three major averages traded in the red ahead of the jobs data.

The market got a boost this week after Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that the Federal Reserve is “not far off” from believing inflation is in the right place for the central bank to start cutting borrowing costs.

In a show of how the wind is blowing elsewhere, European Central Bank policymakers are lining up to support a rate cut before the summer break as inflation falls faster than expected. Meanwhile, Bank of Japan officials are said to be warming to the idea of ​​finally raising rates from negative territory.

On the corporate front, shares of Costco ( COST ) fell 5% as earnings hit after its quarterly sales miss. Broadcom's ( AVGO ) revenue on $10 billion in sales of AI-enabled chips failed to impress investors, sending shares down more than 2%.

Among commodities, gold futures (GC=F) continued to rally as spot gold posted its biggest weekly rise in five months.

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  • Stocks head into a winning week after the jobs report

    Wall Street sounded the trading day on a positive note as stocks rose after the February jobs report showed a rise in the unemployment rate. A slightly weaker job market bolsters the case for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this summer, boosting investor confidence.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was flat. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC ) gained 0.3%.

  • Costco is Costco

    Costco (COST) Costco has historically worked well for investors.

    The company sells giant $1.50 hot dogs in its food court (and they're pretty tasty, as you can see in my 2022 photo below with retired CEO Craig Jelinek). In the latest quarter, an 18% increase in online sales was fueled by demand for gold bars. A few weeks ago I surprisingly found (and bought) two tomahawk steaks from my local Costco for $40 (about five pounds of meat).

    Costco does things differently, it's built into their DNA. Shares are up over the past five years as members shop around happily: +245%.

    So I wasn't surprised to hear Costco's longtime CFO Richard Kelanti (soon to retire) reveal his entry into the sushi business on an earnings call last night:

    “We recently opened our first fully operational sushi offering in Issaquah, Washington, across the street from our headquarters, and have two more planned to open in the very near future. We've been doing this successfully for years – years, and our sushi program in Asia Costco's and many other countries there is quality and price. It has proven to be a category that can succeed in both, and we look forward to seeing it in the future.”

    Sign me up for the California roll, rich man.

    Costco hot dogs are on point.  At right, now-retired Costco CEO Craig Jelinek.Costco hot dogs are on point.  At right, now-retired Costco CEO Craig Jelinek.

    Costco hot dogs are on point. At right, now-retired Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. (Yahoo Fund)

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