Shares surged after nonfarm payroll employment jumped a stronger-than-expected 236,000 during February, the Labor Department reported, beating market expectations by 71,000. The unemployment rate, measured by a separate household survey, also dropped by 0.2% to 7.7% last month.
Private employment was particularly strong, climbing by 236,000 in February following around 140,000 new hires in January, although the latter number was lowered by 26,000 from last month's report. The report also found another uptick in public sector layoffs, with another 10,000 net job losses in February following a upwardly revised 21,000 government workers losing their jobs in January.
Also, the Commerce Department said U.S. wholesalers boosted stockpiles by the largest amount in 13 months during January despite a big drop in sales. Inventories at the wholesale level rose 1.2% from the prior month, the largest rise since December 2011. Sales for wholesalers fell 0.8% in January. Inventories grew a slight 0.1% in December while sales at the wholesale were flat.
Overseas, new data showed Japan's economy GDP grew at a 0.2% annualized pace during Q4, reversing a 0.4% contraction during Q3 and indicating the Japanese economy is emerging from its recent recession.
Also, Chinese exports rose 21.8% year over year during in February, the customs administration said, easily beating the 8.1% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Commodities also rallied after early decline to finish higher. Crude oil for April delivery settled 39 cents at $91.95 per barrel. April natural gas was up 5 cents to $3.63 per 1 million BTU. April gold climbed $1.80 to $1,576.90 per ounce while May silver was up 14 cents to $28.95 per ounce. May copper was down 1 cent to $3.51 per pound.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
- Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.47% to 14,396.92
- S&P 500 up 0.45% to 1,551.16
- Nasdaq Composite Index up 0.38% to 3,244.37
- Hang Seng Index up 1.41%
- Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.24%
- FTSE 100 Index up 0.57%
- (+) P, CEO Joseph Kennedy announces plans to step down as soon as a replacement can be hired. Also, the Internet music service reports a $0.04-per-share Q4 net loss, a penny better than analysts were expecting. Revenue climbs 54% to $125.1 mln, beating the analyst consensus by $2.3 mln.
- (+) CLDX, Cantor Fitzgerald raises price target by $3 to $16 a share, expecting the company to begin receiving revenues from its CDX-o11 and rindopepimut drug candidates in 2016, a year earlier than first anticipated.
- (+) WG, Analysts at Johnson Rice raise rating for shares of the oilfield services company to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $10 price target.
- (+) HRB, Tax preparation firm says volume for tax filings expected to rise 1% to 2% over year-ago levels during its fiscal Q4 ending April 30, overshadowing disappointing Q3 results.
- (-) SKUL, Sees Q1 loss of $0.25 to $0.30 per share, well under the $0.25 per share profit analysts are expecting.
- (-) MED, Q1 guidance trails Street view. Sees EPS of $0.32 to $0.35, at least $0.10 per share below analyst forecasts. Revenue of $93 mln to $95 mln lags expectations by $6.1 mln. Weak outlook overshadows Q4 earnings and revenue both topping estimates.
- (-) ANGO, Reports preliminary Q3 earnings of $0.04 to $0.06 per share, trailing the analyst consensus by at least $0.03. Projects 2.4% decline in quarterly revenue from last year to $81 mln, missing the analyst consensus by at least $6 mln.
- (-) MXWL, Will restate financial results for all of 2011 and 2012 after audit uncovers errors in how revenues were recognized, explaining it does not believe there was a fixed sales price at the time of sales to certain distributors nor could collection be reasonably assured.
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