The stock markets in the United States gained today driven by data indicating an improvement in the labor market last month thus increasing optimism among investors regarding the country’s economic growth.

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The ADP Research Institute reported that companies in the private sector added 191,000 jobs including 72,000 jobs from small business, 52,000 jobs from medium business and 67,000 jobs from large businesses in March.

According to Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of ADP, “The 191,000 U.S. private sector jobs added in March is slightly above the twelve-month average. Hopefully, this could be a sign there is more growth to come.”  On the other hand, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics commented that the labor market is “coming out from its deep winter slumber,” and he suggested that the number of jobs that will be added in the coming months will be better as the weather warms.

The Department of Labor is scheduled to release its employment report for March on April 4. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen said the considerable slack in the labor market shows that the central bank’s unprecedented accommodation is still necessary for some time to maintain economic growth and help Americans get back to work.

Yesterday, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) index showed that U.S. manufacturing climbed for the 10th consecutive month. The March PMI increased to 53.7% from 53.2%. The production index rose to 55.9% from 48.2% and new orders climbed from 48.2% to 55.9%.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities opined, “The positive tone from yesterday is most likely to continue into the jobs report, absent some big macro piece of data that comes out between now and then. Longer-term investors are still of the opinion that the U.S. equity market remains one of the best places to be invested for this year.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,573.00 (+0.24%)
  • S&P 500- 1,890.90 (+0.29 %)
  • NASDAQ- 4,276.46 (+0.20%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,192.81 (+0.35%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,187.45 (+0.03%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,659.04 (+0.10%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,623.36 (+0.20%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,946.32 (+1.04%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,523.94 (+0.34%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,180.73 (+0.81%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) jumped 73.88% to $6.99 per share after an FDA advisory committee recommended the approval of its diabetes treatment Afrezza.

The shares of Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) declined 1.46% to $12.85 per share after an analyst at Nomura reduced their 2014 EPS estimate for the company from $0.28 to $0.14. Nomura analyst Curt Woodworth explained, “We see significant downside risk to 2014 EPS estimates as LME aluminum values continue to free fall.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) dropped 4.63% to $41.44 per share. This is the second day the stock price of the company has suffered a decline. Yesterday, Sean Croley of Seeking Alpha commented that the performance of Tyson Foods is almost too good to be true. The stock is up 31.5% YTD and almost 80% in 12 months and still trading at a discount.