Stocks were meandering along in positive territory for most of the trading session buoyed by a really good employment report that was released before trading began, until word that Greece’s creditors are demanding that Greece must apply for a bailout extension by February 16th. That news, which hit the wires during the last hour of trading sent stocks into negatives territory putting a damper on what was looking like a very good week for the bulls.
As for that employment report this morning, 257,000 new jobs were created in January which was better than expected. The unemployment rate moved up a tick to 5.7%, but that was because the participation rate picked up, which is good news. Finally, average hourly earnings moved up .5% which is also a good sign. It was hard to be negative about today’s release.
And stocks, by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 60 points to finish the day at 17,824. The S&P 500 was down 7 points to close at 2055. Gold was down $25 to trade at $1237 per ounce, while oil was up $1.59 to trade at $52.07 per barrel WTI. Despite today’s late selloff in the market averages, it was a good week for stocks as a good portion of January’s decline were recovered.
Other than today’s good employment report, stocks had been in positive territory for most of the session partly due to a bounce back in oil prices. Yes, that seems counter-intuitive, but stocks seem to rise and fall with the price of oil lately. Anyway, the start of February was better than what we saw in January, but volatility still rules the day. Let’s see what next week brings.
Have a great weekend everyone.