The stock markets in the United States gained as investors become optimistic on the strength of the economy based on jobs and retail sales data today.

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The Department Labor reported that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits was 279,000 for the week ended June 6—the 14th straight week below 300,000—a sign that the labor market remained strong.

The Department of Commerce reported that the retail sales increase 1.2% in May.  According to the agency, the biggest gainers last months were auto dealers and retailers of clothing and building materials.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Oppenheimer said, “For the markets to do better we need good news about the economy. If the retail sales data were weak, we would have had a problem, but it isn’t. While the data isn’t knocking the cover off the ball, it’s reasonable and a solid recovery.”

[drizzle]Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies commented, “The consumer took a month off and came back and spent in style. Consumers’ behavior has been inconsistent, but the trend has been for gradual acceleration of spending.”

Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., said, “The labor market is reasonably good. Consumer spending is getting support from the labor market clearly and from some income growth.”

According to the Federal Reserve, the wealth of households increased 2% or $1.63 trillion in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised to Germany and France that he will accelerate efforts to develop a package of reform before the expiration of the bailout agreement at the end of this month.  The Greek government failed to make progress on its debt negotiations with its international creditors.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,039.37 (+0.22%)
  • S&P 500- 2,108.86 (+0.17%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,082.51 (+0.11%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,268.92 (+0.16%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,551.91 (+0.72%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,846.74 (+0.24%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,332.78 (+0.60%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 20,382.97 (+1.68%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 26,907.85 (+0.83%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 5,306.82 (-0.04%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Citrix Systems increased more than 6% to $70.39 per share. Elliot acquired 7.1% stake in the company. The activist investor believes that the company could achieve a stock price of more than $100 per share by the end of 2016. Elliott demanded a fundamental change and suggested a new operating plan for Citrix.

iDreamSky Technology surged more than 19% to $13.36 per share. The company is the highest gainer listed on NASDAQ today. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock traded between $6.64 and $25.95 per share. The company lost 21% of stock value year-to-date.

The shares of Transocean declined 5% to $18.12 per share. Analysts at Barclays Capital initiated coverage on the stock with a negative outlook based on low oil prices and oversupplied rig market.

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