Stocks close little changed after disappointing jobs report, but rise for a second straight week; Europe closes higher as investors monitor Brexit uncertainty
Stocks closed little changed on Friday after the release of disappointing jobs data, but posted back-to-back weekly gains on optimism around U.S.-China trade relations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 69.31 points, or 0.3% at 26,797.46. The S&P 500 climbed just 0.1% to close at 2,978.71 while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2% to 8,103.07.
The U.S. economy added 130,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday. This marked the third straight monthly slowdown in jobs growth. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobs to grow by 150,000 last month. Unemployment remained steady at a rate of 3.7% while wages grew more than expected.
Lululemon shares jumped more than 7% on quarterly results that topped analyst expectations. The apparel maker said its same-store sales — a key metric for retailers — rose 15% for the year-earlier period.
European markets closed slightly higher Friday, as investors monitored ongoing Brexit uncertainty and developments in the U.S.-China trade war. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up by around 0.25%, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor tumbled toward the bottom of the index. Shares of the company fell nearly 4% after talks with Malaysia’s Axiata about a potential joint venture ended without a deal.
On the data front, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Friday that euro zone growth halved in the second quarter of 2019. The reading, which confirmed earlier analyst estimates, came as Germany’s economy and trade slowed.
Euro zone GDP (gross domestic product) expanded by 0.2% in the second quarter, the data showed, after a 0.4% expansion in the first three months of the year.
KMBN: Serbia to buy Komercijalna banka shares owned by EBRD, IFC - four non-binding bids had been received
Serbia, EBRD and the IFC Capitalisation Fund have reached an agreement concerning the sale of 34.58 pct of the ordinary shares in Komercijalna Banka owned by EBRD and the IFC Capitalisation Fund to Serbia. "Following completion of the transaction, the Republic of Serbia will own 83.23 pct of the ordinary shares of the Bank. The transaction follows the acquisition by the Republic of Serbia of 6.89 pct of ordinary shares from Swedfund and DEG which was completed on June 26, 2019," EBRD said in a statement. "The transaction therefore completes the consolidation of the ownership structure of the Bank and will allow the Republic of Serbia to offer for sale a total of 83.23 pct of the Bank's ordinary shares to facilitate the privatisation of the Bank under the ongoing privatisation process. Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali on Friday said four non-binding bids had been received for the privatisation of Komercijalna banka – this will be opened on Tuesday.
Moody’s Upgrades Serbia’s Rating Outlook
The rating agency Moody’s has upgraded the outlook on Serbia’s rating to positive from stable and affirmed the Ba3 rating. The Moody’s decision to upgrade Serbia’s rating outlook is supported by the accelerated reduction in the public debt-to-GDP ratio, as well as the country’s robust medium-term economic growth outlook. Sound foundations based on the strengthening of domestic factors will additionally support the improvement in Serbia’s fiscal indicators.
Mali, Petrovic discuss draft 2020 budget
Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali on Friday met with Fiscal Council President Pavle Petrovic to discuss the draft 2020 budget, the so-called Swiss pension formula and the implementation of a nationwide investment plan. Both parties welcomed the introduction of the formula, slated for 2020, and Mali noted the Law on the Budget System would be amended for that purpose. Speaking about the investment plan, the minister said mayors of municipalities across Serbia would send specific plans with priority projects by the end of the month. Petrovic briefed Mali on Fiscal Council projections for 2020 and gave proposals on how to use fiscal space.