Stocks consolidated the previous day’s record-breaking gains on Friday, as Wall Street finished slightly higher heading in to the weekend.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed for the second straight session above 1,700, on an advance of 0.16 percent to 1,709.67 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.19 percent higher at 15,658.36 points, and the NASDAQ logged the day’s most substantial gain of 0.38 percent to end the week at 3,689.59 points.
Indices started the day lower as the monthly jobs report was released indicating that the economy added 162,000 jobs in the month of July, well short of the 185,000 expected by economists, while the number of jobs added in June was revised downward from 195,000 to 188,000. Unemployment dropped to 7.4 percent, but mostly due to the fact that more people have simply stopped looking for employment. Meanwhile, the data showed an uptick in part-time jobs, while the number of full time jobs has dropped.
The news seemed to eventually reassure investors about the persistence of Federal Stimulus. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes dropped 4.44 percent to $2.60, and gold got a brief respite, crawling over $1,300 per ounce, ending the day 0.31 percent lower at $1,307.10 per ounce. The jobs report was not too dismal to cause alarm, but not good enough to rejuvenate fear about the Federal Reserve’s reduction of asset purchases.
Tech shares propped up the S&P 500, with the highest volume gains registered by Dell Inc. (DELL) , after founder Michael Dell upped his offer to shareholders to take the company private. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Sprint Nextel (S) also ended the day significantly higher. Oil and gas stocks dragged on the index however despite a number of earnings beats reported by Tesoro Corporation (TSO) , Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) , and Phillips 66 (PSX) .
Energy stocks also weighed on the Dow’s performance, with Chevron (CVX) dropping over 1 percent on news that the company missed earnings-per-share estimates during the second quarter by a wide margin, while Exxon Mobil (XOM) continued to dip for the same reason after releasing its earnings report the previous day.
Shares for drug manufacturer Mylan ($MYL) climbed briskly throughout the day to finish up 7 percent to $36.40 after the company released its earnings report after beating EPS estimates by $0.01.