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S&P 500 rises as investors anticipate US jobs report, Santos-Woodside merger update

The S&P 500 closed higher Thursday, attempting to snap a three-day losing streak as traders looked ahead to Friday’s all-important jobs report.

The broad S&P 500 climbed 0.80 per cent to 4,585.59, while the blue-chip Dow added 62.95 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 36,117.38. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.37 per cent to 14,339.99 as technology stocks outperformed.

Shares of Google-parent Alphabet gained 5 per cent as traders cheered the company’s launch of its Gemini artificial intelligence model. Nvidia and AMD also added more than 2 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively.

The job market has been a focus of investors this week amid a series of mixed data releases.

Weekly jobless claims released Thursday were below economist expectations and a reading of continuing jobless claims declined, indicating that the pace of layoffs hasn’t increased. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield initially popped on the back of the figures, reflecting concerns around the strength of the labour market despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tame inflation.
Private payrolls data issued on Wednesday showed that employers added fewer positions than economists forecasted.

Meanwhile, the volume of job openings in October fell to its lowest level since March 2021, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday.

It left traders with a confusing picture ahead of the main event: Friday’s official jobs report.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect that 190,000 jobs were added in November, a step up from the prior month. Investors are hoping for signs of cooling in the labour market, leaving the Federal Reserve comfortable with its decision to halt interest rate hikes.

Turning to US sectors, most closed higher overnight. Communication Services was the clear standout, closing 3.22 per cent higher. Energy was the worst performer.

In the Australian landscape, energy giants Woodside Energy and Santos are in early talks about merging, following a global trend of energy companies coming together. If they proceed, the merged company’s value would reach nearly A$80 billion.

Both firms are dealing with challenges tied to reducing carbon emissions and facing hurdles in their growth projects. Woodside is waiting for approvals for its A$16.5 billion Scarborough project in Western Australia.

Both companies are also struggling with issues related to production, rising costs, and complex regulations.

The merger might also be a response to falling share prices; Woodside’s shares have dropped by 15.4 per cent this year, while Santos is down by 4.3 per cent.

The outcome of these discussions will have a significant impact on the Australian energy sector’s future.


The SPI futures are pointing to a 0.2 per cent fall.


One Australian dollar at 8:50 AM was buying 66.02 US cents.


Gold has lost 0.13 per cent. Silver has falled 0.45 per cent. Copper has gained 1.67 per cent. Oil has added 0.37 per cent.

Figures around the globe

European markets closed lower. London’s FTSE fell 0.02 per cent, Frankfurt lost 0.16 per cent, and Paris closed 0.10 per cent lower.

Turning to Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 1.76 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.71 per cent while China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.09 per cent lower.

The Australian share market closed 0.07 per cent lower at 7,173.34.

Dividends payable
Beacon Minerals Ltd (ASX:BCN)
Tamawood Ltd (ASX:TWD)
EZZ Life Science Holdings Ltd (ASX:EZZ)

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.


The views, opinions or recommendations of the commentators in this presentation are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views, opinions, recommendations, of Sequoia Financial Group Limited ABN 90 091 744 884 and its related bodies corporate (“SEQ”). SEQ makes no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. Any prices published are accurate subject to the time of filming and shouldn’t be relied upon to make a financial decision. Commentators may hold positions in stocks mentioned and companies may pay FNN to produce the content at times. The content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian Financial Services Licensee before making investment decisions. To the extent permitted by law, SEQ excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way including by way of negligence.

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