June Jobs Lift U.S. Stock ETFs, But COVID-19 Resurgence Still Hurts

U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds jumped Thursday after a better-than-expected June employment increase, but a resurgence in coronavirus cases added to fears of weakness for the jobs market ahead and muted the gains.

On Thursday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 1.2%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) gained 1.1% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) rose 1.1%.

Stocks climbed after the June employment report showed the U.S. added 4.8 million jobs last month, marking the second consecutive months of job growth, and the unemployment rate dipped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“This continues the trend that we’ve seen here of economic data coming in stronger than expected,” Jim Baird, Chief Investment Officer of Plante Moran Financial Advisors, told the WSJ. “It all points to a recovery that is clearly underway.”

However, some investors were sounding a word of caution as there are a number of risks that could dampen the risk-on mood. For instance, the jobless rate is still at historic highs and the labor market has shrunk by 15 million jobs from February.

Moreover, Thursday’s jobs report was collected while local economies were reopening, and the recent spike in coronavirus cases could pause or reverse the gains.

“Everybody is obviously watching the changes in the American labor market,” Florian Hense, an economist at Berenberg Bank, told the WSJ. “The U.S. consumer is the most important driver of the global economy.”

Record spikes in new COVID-19 infections in parts of the country, like the highly-populated states of California, Florida, and Texas, have forced several local governments to pause reopenings and call back some workers.

“June may be the calm before the storm,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG, told Reuters. “We cannot be sure the labor market recovery will continue at a speed that is sufficient to put the millions and millions of Americans made jobless in this recession back to work.”

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