Friday, August 5, 2011

Dow Jones Industrial Average

U.S. stocks opened higher Friday morning after a better-than-anticipated jobs report eased some concern following the drubbing stocks took in the previous session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 122 points, or 1.1%, to 11506, in early trading. The blue-chip index tumbled 512 points Thursday, its biggest point drop since Dec. 1, 2008. It's in the red for the year and has fallen 11% below the 2011 closing high in April, putting the measure squarely in correction territory.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 14 points, or 1.2%, to 1214, led higher by material and industrial stocks. All 10 of the S&P 500's sectors moved higher. The technology-oriented Nasdaq Composite gained 24 points, or 0.9%, to 2580.
The action comes as the U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs last month, more than economists were expecting. The unemployment rate edged lower to 9.1%, which should help ease concerns that another recession may be around the corner. Recent reports have shown a drop in consumer spending, a slowing manufacturing sector and sluggish economic growth.
Investors had come into Friday's trading with bated breath after a rollercoaster week during which many began to lose faith in the ability and willingness of governments to contain a snowballing crisis.
Markets had been buffeted by a slew of worries ranging from a stalling U.S. economic recovery, to worries about whether the nation's ballooning debt load would prompt a credit-rating downgrade. In Europe, the inability of officials to quell worries about sovereign debt has driven down stock prices and increased the cost of borrowing for banks and the peripheral nations.
While the jobs report is a bright spot among the gloomy U.S. economic data, some investors warn that it may be only a temporary salve to underlying worries that the economy may be heading toward a double-dip recession.
"The market is still pretty shaken up and in panic mode," said Binky Chadha, chief U.S. equity strategist at Deutsche Bank. "Our view is encouraged by today's jobs report, but this data won't completely stop the panic."
Gold futures edged lower to $1,657 an ounce, while crude oil futures slipped to nearly $86 a barrel.
In overseas markets, Europe kept the selling going with the Stoxx Europe 600 hitting its lowest in more than a year before paring some losses. Asian exchanges were also sharply lower.
In corporate news, Procter & Gamble Co.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 15% as sales grew across the world. But the world's largest consumer-goods company was cautious on the current quarter, where price increases haven't caught up to rising costs. Shares rose 1.2%. Inc. surged 12% after the online travel-services company reported second-quarter results and a third-quarter outlook that were better than expected.
LinkedIn Corp.'s second-quarter profit grew 5.1% on strong revenue growth as the professional-networking site added subscribers, a strong showing for the company's first quarterly results since going public. Shares rose 4.4%.
First Solar Inc. reported its second-quarter profit fell 62% amid market disruptions in Europe that drove down prices. The company said it would expand production to boost profit later this year. Shares gained 1%.