Stocks closed mostly higher yesterday, with the S&P 500 extending its win streak to a sixth session, as investors continued to monitor trade talks between the U.S. and China, which are reportedly in their final stretch.
The pace of hiring sped up in March as the U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs, rebounding from a paltry gain in the prior month. The increase in new jobs beat the 172,000 forecast. The jobless rate was unchanged at 3.8%. The government said 33,000 new jobs were created in February instead of 20,000. January’s gain was little changed at 312,000.
Surprisingly strong auto sales for March are leading some economists to be more confident in their economic outlook after a rough start to the year. Motor vehicle sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.45 million in March, up from 16.57 million in February. That’s the highest reading in three months and represents a recovery from a downbeat start to the year.
The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits at the end of March fell to the lowest level since December 1969, a reassuring sign for the economy amid a bounty of other evidence showing slower growth early in the new year.