Stocks rallied bravely ahead of the Department of Labor’s nonfarm payroll report due out on Friday, as Wall Street saw an encouraging sign in the weekly report released in early trading that indicated initial jobless claims were lower by 20,000 throughout the period ended Feb 1.
While the final tally for claims last week was only 4,000 shy of the forecasted 335,000, a recent slew of worrisome economic data has kept investors on edge, and in need of every available inch of breathing room.
The Final Tally:
● Standard & Poor’s 500: +1.24 percent to 1,773.43
● Dow Jones Industrial Average: +1.22 percent to 15,628.53
● Nasdaq: +1.14 percent to 4,057.12
Our Top Stories:
● George Brooks considers the possibility that the “smart” money is just as confused as the rest of the money.
● Health insurance giant Aetna Inc. (AET) announced a 94 percent increase in profits during their recently-ended fourth quarter, but somehow still fell short of street expectations. Andrew Klips has the story.
● A few considerations about the major-integrated oil and gas industry from Michael Teague.
● Dennis Miller’s meditation on the subject of debt.
● An Equities.com guide to non-direct methods of investing in the social media boom.
● The best-performing ETFs of 2014.
● The Gold Report has a great interview up with famed geologist Brent Cook that is a must read for metals investors.
On the S&P:
Financial stocks made a strong showing on the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, with Bank of America (BAC) up 1.77 percent on the day’s largest volume. Citigroup (C) , Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) , and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) were also substantially higher by the closing bell. The US’s largest natural gas producer, Chesapeake Energy Corporation ($CHK), on the other hand, shed nearly 7 percent as investors reacted to anemic production output during the fourth-quarter, despite the company’s 20 percent reduction of capital spending during the period.
It was another great day for Walt Disney Co. (DIS) on the Dow, as the company closed over 5 percent higher after the earnings statement it released for its fiscal first-quarter revealed an 8 percent increase in sales on a year-over-year basis. Only three of the index’s components managed to dip a toe into the red on the day.
On the Nasdaq:
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) was one of the Nasdaq’s more spectacular performances in the day’s session. The company’s stock added 26.25 percent after announcing a deal with Coca-Cola (KO) to make a countertop device designed to challenge that of upstart rival SodaStream International (SODA) . Game-making company Glu Mobile (GLUU) was up nearly 28 percent after an earnings statement that far surpassed expectations that the company would break even.
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