Stocks rallied in the shortened trading session that followed a blowout June jobs report ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,061.81, +85.6, (+0.5%)
- S&P 500: 1,984.7, +10, (+0.5%)
- Nasdaq: 4,482.94, +25.2, (0.6%)
And now, the top stories of the day:
1) The June jobs report was a blowout. The report showed 288,000 non-farm payrolls were added in June, crushing estimates for 215,000 additions. The unemployment rate also fell to 6.1%, its lowest level since September 2008, and below expectations for the rate to remain unchanged at 6.3%. The jobs report, however, showed that wage growth fell slightly from the prior month, and hasn’t been as robust as the overall improvement in the employment market. Following the report, a number of Wall Street analysts had enthusiastic and colourful reactions, including Chris Rupkey at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, who said, “Kaboom! This report sure is one red-hot firecracker of an economy exploding the myth that growth isn’t strong enough to create jobs, isn’t strong enough to withstand a rate hike… There is no devil in the details.”
2) The European Central Bank announced its latest monetary policy decision, and kept rates unchanged. The ECB kept its refinancing rate at 0.15%, its deposit facility rate at -0.10%, and its marginal lending facility at 0.4%. In his press conference following the meeting, ECB president Mario Draghi said that he expects interest rates will remain low for an extended period of time. Draghi also said the bank is moving to a schedule of holding meetings every six weeks instead of every month.
3) ISM also released its latest non-manufacturing services survey, which came in at 56.0 for June. This was slightly below expectations for a 56.3 reading, though the survey’s employment index rose 2 points to 54.4 from 54.2. In a note following the report, Pantheon Macro said, “In one line: Solid, but probably understating payrolls for the foreseeable future.”
4) The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ latest balance of trade report showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $US44.4 billion in May, which is down from $US47 billion April. This also beats the $US45 billion deficit that was expected by economists.
5) There were a number of encouraging details in the jobs report, but among the most notable was the indication that job growth hasn’t been slowed by the adoption of Obamacare the way some had feared. In 2014, job growth has been accelerating at an average rate of 231,000 per month, which far outpaces any other since the recession.
6) In corporate news, Lorillard and Reynolds American saw shares gain notably today after CNBC’s David Faber reported that a merger between the two could be announced by the end of the month. A combination between the two had been previously reported and discussed in the spring, but investors responded positively to Faber’s latest report that a deal appears imminent. Shares of Lorillard gained nearly 6%, while Reynolds American, which would be the acquiring company in a merger, gained about 2%.
7) The U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed tomorrow in observation of the Independence Day holiday.
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