The stock markets in the United States ended the trading higher driven by the better-than-expected jobs data.  The Department of Labor reported that the economy added 321,000 new jobs in November, the highest since January 2012. The unemployment rate remained at 5.8%, the lowest in six years.

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In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said the private sector created almost 11 million jobs over the past 57 consecutive months. He said, “November was the 10th consecutive month with job growth exceeding 200,000 — the longest stretch since the 1990s…The news is good across the board. Growth has been strong in middle and high-wage industries over the last two years.”

Sec. Perez observed a strong growth in professional and business services jobs last month. He also noted that auto sales are surging and the consumer confidence continues to grow. He said, “Americans are bullish about our economic future. By nearly every measure, we are in better shape than when President Obama took office nearly six years ago.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) came close to reaching as much as 18,000 points, but its gains were slightly reduced by the slump of equities in the energy sector.  The index closed 17,957.83, up by 0.32% today.

[drizzle]In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Joe Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade Holding Corp commented, “It was an amazing jobs report, with gains across every sector. It really was a number that Wall Street wasn’t prepared for. The market doesn’t like surprises so there was selling pressure, but the number is too good to sell on based off of that.”

On the other hand, Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management opined that investors are weighing whether the economy can stand on its own. He said, “Maybe we’re at the point where the market thinks the economy can grow without the Fed pumping money into it.”

Yesterday, the stock markets declined after European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi stated the policy makers will wait until early next quarter to evaluate whether additional stimulus is necessary.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,957.83 (+0.32%)
  • S&P 500- 2,075.25 (+0.16%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,780.76 (+0.24%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,181.60 (+0.73%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,277.38 (+2.70%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,642.84 (+0.95%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,087.12 (+2.39%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,8920.45 (+0.19%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,002.64 (+0.17%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,124.89 (+0.66%)

Stocks in Focus

The shares of Actuate Corp (NASDAQ:BIRT) surged more than 87% to $6.55 per share after announcing its agreement to be acquired by OpenText for $6.60 per share or approximately $330 million.

The stock price of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) declined more than 1% to $110.73 per share today. The company is among those in the energy sectors hit by the declining oil prices. Over the past three months, Chevron lost almost 13% of its stock value.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) gained nearly 3% to $83.53 per share after analysts at JP Morgan raised their price target to $89 per share and maintained their Overweight rating. The analysts suggested that the company will be able to achieve an annual earnings growth of around 15% to 20% until 2019.

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