Stocks Look Higher After Strong Jobs News, Bonds Are Higher

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A modestly stronger jobs report has not shaken the morning's fragile confidence.

Even in the face of a couple more tech problems

last night, the

S&P 500

futures at 9 a.m. EST are up 2.70 -- are indicating a positive open. Treasuries, which apparently overdiscounted for a bad report, are moving higher.

"It's going to be a decent day today," says Mike Driscoll, block trader at

Hambrecht & Quist

. "Its a real traders market," he says of the quick turnaround from yesterday's selling. "But you've gotta go long here. You've gotta give the market the benefit of the doubt -- we've got a bit more to go here."

The February report showed an increase of 310,000 nonfarm payrolls. The unemployment rate eased 0.1% to 4.6%. Consensus expectations had been for nonfarm payrolls to grow by 247,000. The unemployment rate was in line with expectations. Average hourly earnings rose 0.6%, above expectations of a gain of 0.5%.

It appears that the Treasury market was expecting stronger-than-expected number.

"The sentiment was so bearish coming into this -- that's what's causing this reverse reaction," says Mike Cloherty, senior market economist at

Credit Suisse First Boston

. "People were set up so much for a down trade. That's what ground down the market all week."

The benchmark 30-year bond is up 13/32 to 100 24/32, the yield at 6.06%.

After a couple days of losses, Japan stocks climbed again -- thanks to those perennial rumors that the next economic stimulus plan will be better than the first four were. The Japanese government's apparent intention to use pension-fund buying to boost the

Nikkei

to 18,000 by the end of the month also boosted stocks. The Nikkei closed up 283.42 to close at 17,131.97.

In other news, the

Nihon Keizai Shimbun

reports that, in a meeting with former Prime Minister

Kiichi Miyazawa

,

U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin

expressed worry that the forthcoming (or, rather, fifthcoming) economic stimulus package will not include the tax cuts needed to turn sentiment in Japan around.

Hong Kong stocks, under pressure in recent days over Malaysia's banking crisis, saw a bit of a bounce-back rally. Volume was light, though -- with things looking a little shaky in the region, plenty of people stuck to the sidelines. The

Hang Seng

climbed 115.85 to close at 10,919.53.

German stocks rallied, with talk of a possible rate-cut helping flag the flames. The

Dax

closed up 92.55 at 4715.95.

London stocks are up this morning, thought the move has some traders scratching there heads.

"It's been kind of a strange day," says one trader in London. "The futures have been horrible all morning, which should have applied pressure, but it didn't."

The

FTSE

is up 47.70 at 5743.30.

In Russia, they worry about

Boris Yeltsin's

health. Here, we worry about

Alan Greenspan

.

The Federal Reserve

swiftly denied rumors that the Chairman had suffered a heart-attack.