Stocks rise after strong jobs report

In Uncategorized on March 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A slightly better-than-expected jobs report and positive news out of Greece lifted stocks for a third straight day on Friday.

The gains were broad, with all 10 SP 500 sectors gaining ground, led by financial and material stocks.

Friday also marks the third anniversary of the current bull market. The SP 500 and Nasdaq have more than doubled in value from the bear market lows on March 9, 2009. And the Dow is up more than 97%.

Friday’s gains followed a government’s jobs report that showed the U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3%.

“The jobs report is yet another sign that the economy is improving and headed in the right direction,” said Karl Mills, president and chief investment officer at Jurika Mills Keifer.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 38 points, or 0.3%, with JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), DuPont (DD, Fortune 500) and Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) leading the rise. The SP 500 (SPX) gained 9 points, or 0.6%, and the Nasdaq (COMP) increased 20 points, or 0.7%.

Investors were also relieved after creditors agreed to a plan to restructure Greek bonds, the final hurdle for Greece to clear to secure its second €130 billion bailout and avoid a disorderly default.

Greek deal is only one step

While the debt swap deal allows investors to cross off one item on their list of worries, Mills said investors will continue to keep tabs on Greece and Europe’s other debt-laden countries.

Stocks started out the week in the red — posting the worst losses of the year Tuesday — as investors remained nervous about Greece and the U.S. job market. Despite three up days, the Dow hasn’t fully recovered and is headed for a second consecutive week of declines.

The SP 500 and Nasdaq have recouped their losses from earlier in the week, but the gains for the week are slim at just 0.5%.

While gains for the week are muted, stocks have had an impressive run so far in 2012. The Dow is up almost 6% the SP 500 has climbed 9% and the Nasdaq has rallied nearly 15%.

“The stock market is just the most sensible place to invest right now,” said Mills. “Companies are in better shape than countries by a long shot, and this rally still has a ways to go.”

World markets: European stocks ended with solid gains. Britain’s FTSE 100 (UKX) added 0.5%, while the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 0.7% and France’s CAC 40 (CAC40) increased 0.3%

Inflation in China slowed dramatically in February, as temporary price hikes related to Lunar New Year faded.

Consumer prices rose 3.2% from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported Friday — a steep slowdown from a 4.5% inflation rate in January.

Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) added 0.8%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong rose 0.9% and Japan’s Nikkei (N225) increased 1.7%.

On Friday, the Nikkei briefly crossed 10,000 for the first time since August, before closing at 9,929.

Economy: The U.S. trade deficit for January totaled $52.6 billion, up from $50.4 billion in December.

Wholesale inventories for January increased by 0.4%, after increasing 1.1% the month prior. Economists were expecting a 0.6% rise.

Companies: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) shares dropped after Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) announced that it will begin selling a single-service coffee machine of its own.

Green Mountain currently dominates the single-serve market with its popular Keurig, or K-Cup, machines.

Texas Instrument (TXN, Fortune 500) shares also fell after the chipmaker lowered its earnings and revenue forecast for the first quarter on weak demand.

Carnival (CCL) shares slipped also cut its outlook, sending shares lower.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar strengthened against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Currency wars: Brazil says ‘it’s on’

Oil for April delivery rose 95 cents cents to $107.53 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery added $10.50 to $1,709.20 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slipped, pushing the yield up to 2.04% from 2.01% late Thursday.  To top of page

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