First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,484.5, +100.6, (+0.5%)
- S&P 500: 2,023.4, +11.3, (+0.5%)
- Nasdaq: 4,620.7, -3.4, (-0.0%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
1. “It doesn’t get old, right?” NYSE floor governor Rich Barry said. “The Dow hit another all-time high this morning and the S&P 500 came within about a point from doing the same… For those of you keeping score, the Dow is on pace for its 20th record close of the year, while the S&P 500 is shooting for its 36th record closing high of 2014”
2. Today’s rally comes amid encouraging data on jobs ahead of Friday’s official jobs report. According to ADP, US companies added 230,000 private jobs in October. This was up from 225,000 in September, and it was stronger than the 220,000 expected by economists. “The job market is steadily picking up pace,” Moody’s Analytics’ Mark Zandi noted. “Job growth is strong and broad-based across industries and company sizes. At this pace of job growth unemployment and underemployment is quickly declining. The job market will soon be tight enough to support a meaningful acceleration in wage growth.”
3. The ISM services index slipped to 57.1 in October, which was a bit lower than the 58.0 level expected. Still, the number still reflects a healthy pace of growth. What really raised eyebrows was the employment sub-index, which jumped 1.1 points to 59.6, the highest level since August 2005. “This appears to be consistent with payroll growth of 450,000 per month, which is not going to happen,” Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson said. Shepherdson tweaked his model and estimated that the ISM report actually signaled about 300,000 new jobs in October, which is way ahead of the 225,000 forecast by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
4. Gold prices settled at $US1.145.70, down 1.9% for the day. The yellow metal got as low as $US1.137.10, its lowest level since April 2010. This came as the dollar strengthened. The DXY climbed 0.5%.
5. Meanwhile, WTI crude oil prices jumped 2% after a report showing inventories climbed by less than expected. The EIA reported oil stockpiles increased by just 460,000 barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were looking for 2.35 million barrels.
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