The stock markets in the United States ended the trading week with strong gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500, and Nasdaq notched more than 1% gains as investors evaluate the employment data today.

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The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistic reported that the unemployment rate in the country declined to 6.6% in January. According to the Bureau, American companies added 113,000 jobs and employment grew in construction, manufacturing, mining, and the wholesale trade sector. The current unemployment rate was the lowest since October 2008.

Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors Inc told Bloomberg, “The number wasn’t disaster. Folks like me are looking through the headline miss, and recognizing and appreciating that there were some weather factors, but the underlying strength is still there.”

The jobs report indicated that 262,000 Americans were unable to work because of the extreme weather conditions last month. The figure does not show a big difference compared with the same month a year ago. The percentage of people who entered the labor force increase last month from 62.8% to 63%.

Last month, the federal reserve indicated that it will probably maintain its target interest rate near to zero “well past the time” when the unemployment rate is lower than 6.5%.

Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL commented, “This is a buying opportunity. We get jobs data that is very volatile and we are seeing better economic growth. I think the Fed will consider this data, but the Fed has noted that there are other data points they look at.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15,793.83 (+1.05%)
  • S&P 500- 1,796.83 (+1.32%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,125.78 (+1.69%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,114.98 (+1.oo%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,038.49 (+0.92%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,571.68 (+0.20%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,301.92 (+0.49%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,462.41 (+2.17%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21,636.13 (+1.00%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,212.45 (+0.46%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) jumped 1.45% to $519 per share after the tech giant announced that it repurchased $14 billion of its own shares in two weeks since it reported financial results that disappointed analysts and investors, which resulted to an 8% decline of its stock. Apple CEO Tim Cook commented that the latest shares buyback showed that the management is betting on the company. He said, “It means that we are betting on Apple. It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do. We’re not just saying that. We’re showing that with our actions.”

LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) declined more than 6% to $209.59 per share after the professional social network disappointed investors with its weak outlook. During the fourth quarter, the company reported solid profit and revenue growth, however it was overshadowed by lower-than-expected revenue guidance of $455 million to $460 million compared with $470 million consensus estimate for the current quarter.

Meanwhile, the shares of Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) increased 14.52% to $74.60 per share after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings. The company posted $0.92 earnings per share compared with the $0.85 earnings per share consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts.