US stocks rally ahead of jobs data

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTOS: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rallied on Thursday (June 2) after two down sessions ahead of key jobs data, as markets fixate on the implications for inflation and monetary policy.

Payroll services firm ADP said private employment rose by 128,000 positions last month, far less than economists expected and well below April's total.

While the ADP data is not necessarily a harbinger of Friday's government jobs report, some market watchers think a Labour Department report showing weakening hiring and less wage pressure could greet investors.

"Some traders expect to see cooler labour demand, which could slightly ease some inflation worries," said Oanda's Edward Moya.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.3 per cent at 33,248.28.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.8 per cent to 4,176.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 2.7 per cent to 12,316.90.

Federal Reserve vice-chair Lael Brainard continued to take a hard line on inflation, suggesting to CNBC that interest rate hikes would continue through September.

"Right now, it's very hard to see the case for a pause" during the Fed's meeting in September, she said. "We've still got a lot of work to do to get inflation down to our two percent target."

Large tech companies had a banner session, with Google parent Alphabet and Amazon both winning 3.2 per cent, while Netflix jumped 6.3 per cent.

Dow member Microsoft underperformed those levels but still gained 0.8 per cent, despite lowering its profit and sales outlook due to the hit from the strong dollar.

Boeing was another standout, jumping 7.5 per cent after the head of Delta Air Lines said the carrier was hoping for a deal to buy planes from the aviation giant.

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