STOCKS GO NUTS AFTER THE JOBS REPORT: Here's what you need to know

Stocks had a magnificent day after the November jobs report showed that the US economy added more jobs than expected, while the unemployment rate held steady at the lowest level in seven years.

Meanwhile, crude oil slumped, and fell below $40 per barrel, as the outcome of OPEC’s meeting emerged.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,841.55, +363.88, (2.08%)
  • S&P 500: 2,088.85, +39.23, (1.91%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,137.38, +99.85, (1.98%)

And now, Friday’s top stories:

  1. The US economy added 211,000 jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, beating economists’ expectation for 200,000. Employment growth in October was revised up to 298,000 from 271,000, affirming the month as this year’s best. Gains in construction, healthcare, and professional and technical services boosted growth in November, as the crude-oil plunge continued to impact drilling and mining jobs. Average hourly earnings-growth held steady at 0.2% month-on-month, and 2.3% year-on-year. The labour force participation rate was little changed, at 62.5%.
  2. The jobs report all but assured economists that the Federal Reserve will raise borrowing costs for the first time in nine years at its December meeting. A good-enough report was all that economists anticipated would move the Fed. “The message from November’s jobs is clear, the US labour market is unambiguously strengthening,” wrote Neil Dutta at Renaissance Macro to clients. Stifel’s Lindsey Piegza wrote in a note, “From the Fed’s perspective, despite underlying concerns evident in the details, the timing of the November report could not have been better, resulting in two back-to-back “solid” headline increases in employment just before the key December FOMC meeting.”

  3. OPEC will maintain its production levels, even as member states disagree about the ceiling. The 12-member oil cartel held its policy meeting in Vienna today. The group, led by Saudi Arabia, has aimed to keep up with budding competitors including US shale oil producers; some OPEC states heavily depend on oil-export revenues to fund their economies. The resulting supply glut has driven oil prices to six-year lows.
  4. Crude oil slumped again today, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York falling below $40 per barrel to as low as $39.61. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell by about 2% to as low as $42.69.
  5. Goldman Sachs’ Damien Courvalin says the oil market’s supply and demand balance won’t be restored until at least the fourth quarter of 2016. In a note after OPEC’s announcement, they said OPEC “further stressed the need for the oil market to rebalance on its own (‘wait and watch’) and the organisation made no comment on adhering to country level quotas.”
  6. The US oil rig count fell by 10 to 545 last week, for a third period in a row, according to oil driller Baker Hughes. That’s the lowest tally since the week of June 4, 2010. The gas rig count rose by 3 to 292.
  7. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked a new E. coli case to Chipotle. In a release Friday, the CDC said seven more people have come down with E. coli, and there are cases in three new states including Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois. One of the newest patients, whose illness started November 10, reported eating at Chipotle in the week before they fell sick, the CDC said. Chipotle shares fell by as much as 4% in trading. On November 20, the CDC said 43 of 45 people that contracted E. coli had eaten at Chipotle a week prior to their illness.

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