Dow up 81 as jobs data offer some cheer

The S&P 500 is up for a 4th day in a row. Jobless claims aren't as bad as feared. Google hits a new intraday high; Apple comes back from early lows. Gold finishes at an 11-month high. Coal stocks jump.

By Charley Blaine Oct 4, 2012 12:19PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:48 p.m. ET

Stocks finished higher today, and the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) had their best day in about three weeks after initial jobless claims didn't rise as much as expected and investors were pleased the European Central Bank left its key interest rates alone.

And there was a large constituency that believed the market moved higher because of Republican Mitt Romney's performance in Wednesday's presidential debate.

Banks, energy (especially coal) and materials stocks were the market leaders. Bank of America (BAC) was up 30 cents to $9.41. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) had risen 96 cents to $41.82. Coal-producer Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), up 43 cents to $6.73, was the top performer in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).

The technology sector, however, was the day's laggard, in part reflecting investors' adjusting to Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) gloomy outlook. HP managed to finish up 3 cents to $14.94 after falling to as low as $14.24 early in the day, its lowest intraday level since 2003. Apple (AAPL) was off $4.65 to $666.80. But Google (GOOG) hit a new intraday high of $769.89 before dropping back to $768.05 -- itself a new closing high.

The Dow gained 81 points to 13,575. The blue chips had been up as many as 99 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 10 points to 1,461, its best close since Sept. 14. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) finished up 14 points to 3,149. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) had gained 10 points to 2,829.

Article continues below.
The Dow was higher for the second day in a row. The S&P 500 is now sporting a four-day winning streak, and the Nasdaq closed higher for the third straight day.

The market moved a bit lower after the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve's Sept. 12-13 meeting. The minutes show that, after some considerable debate, all but one of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee supported the Fed's new stimulus plan to buy $40 billion a month in mortgage securities and to keep buying even after the recovery strengthens.

Friday brings the September nonfarm payroll and unemployment report, the most important economic statistic of the month and even more important in an election year. Most economists see the unemployment rate holding at around 8.2%. Payrolls may grow as much as 125,000. A few prognosticators think the number might reach 200,000.

Techs and retailers struggle
Today's gains came despite that weakness in technology, driven by the aftermath of Hewlett-Packard's woes -- CEO Meg Whitman doesn't see a big recovery before 2014 -- and by Informatica (INFA), down a whopping $7.60 to $26.04. The software developer's fiscal-third-quarter earnings missed Street estimates.

After the close, Moody's placed HP's $20 billion in debt under under review for a possible downgrade.

At the same time, retail chains reported mixed September results. Kohl's (KSS) missed Street estimates and saw shares fall $1.31 to $50.93. Target (TGT) was a touch light with its sales, but shares were up 56 cents to $63.65. Still, the Standard & Poor's Retail Index ($RLX) was up 5.73 points to 668.44.

Facebook reports some good news, gets hit with bad
Facebook (FB) was up as much as 57 cents to $22.40 after reporting it had 1 billion active users. But the shares closed up 12 cents to $21.95. The shares are off 42% from their initial public offering price of $38 but have rebounded 25% since bottoming at $17.55 on Sept. 4.

After the close, shares of Zynga (ZNGA) were off 53 cents, or 18.7%, to $2.29 after the company said it would likely report a net loss of 12-to-14 cents a share in the third quarter cents. Revenue for the quarter was $300 to $305 million, better than Street estimates of $286 million.

It will also write off most of its $200 million purchase of OMGPOP, maker of the "Draw Something" game.

The company is struggling with slowing growth as users spend more time with mobile devices. Zynga gets most of its revenue from Facebook users. Facebook was off 37 cents after hours to $21.58.
Coal stocks jump on Romney support
Coal stocks appeared to generate investor interest after Mitt Romney said he liked coal as an energy source.

In addition to Alpha Natural Resources, Consol Energy (CNX) was the fourth-best performer in the S&P 500; Peabody Energy (BTU) was 11th.

Metals shares also moved up. U.S. Steel (X) rose 84 cents to $19.72, ninth among S&P 500 stocks. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) jumped $1.04 to $40.45. Alcoa (AA), which reports third-quarter earnings Tuesday, climbed 29 cents to $9.07 -- fourth among the 30 Dow stocks.

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Oil rebounds; gold at an 11-month high
Oil prices were higher today after getting drubbed on Wednesday. Light sweet crude oil (-CL) in New York was up $2.22 to $90.36 a barrel. Brent crude, traded in London, gained $2.28 to $110.45 a barrel.

The national average retail price for gasoline was $3.784 a gallon, up slightly from Wednesday's $3.782, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Gold (-GC), meanwhile, settled up $16.70 to $1,796.50 an ounce, its highest settlement price since Nov. 8, 2011. Silver (-SI) ended up $4.111 to $35.101 an ounce, and copper (-HG) settled at $3.786 a pound, up slightly from $3.784.

The 10-year Treasury yield was up to 1.665% from Wednesday's 1.623%. The dollar was lower.

Draghi is ready to buy government bonds
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank is ready to start buying government bonds as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled. That may take some time because the European Union is still debating the question.

The ECB kept interest rates on hold, leaving the benchmark rate at a historic low of 0.75%.

Many economists believe weakening economies in Europe will force the ECB to cut its base rate to 0.5% by the end of the year.

Indeed, as IHS Global Insight noted that ECB expects the "economy to remain weak in the near term and to recover only gradually thereafter."

Jobless claims rise but don't frighten
Initial jobless claims climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 last week, the Labor Department said today. But economists had been looking for 370,000. The prior week's number was revised up to 363,000 from an initial reading of 359,000.

The four-week average of new claims, considered a better gauge, as it smooths out volatility, was unchanged at 375,000.

The number of planned layoffs at U.S. companies in September rose 4.9% after hitting a 20-month low in August, according to consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Despite the relative increase, the latest reading marks a 15-year low in planned job cuts announced for the month of September.

But Challenger, Gray also noted that employers announced plans to HIRE 426,000. Don't get too excited, however. Most of those hires will be with retailers staffing up for the holiday shopping season.

A separate report today showed orders placed with U.S. factories fell in August by the most in more than three years. The 5.2% decrease followed a revised 2.6% increase in July, the Commerce Department said.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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Oct 4, 2012 4:01PM


So the guy who posts here the most is calling someone else a paid poster???????

Ok then.

Oct 4, 2012 4:01PM

So I actually went to Obama's Denver Rally this morning to check out the freak show.  Surprisingly, most of the people attending the event seemed normal enough, but the production was clearly all about conning young voters with adolescent hype .  There was music going non-stop and it felt like a contrived MTV concert during spring break week in Florida. 


Then Obama gets up there and tries to lie his way out of his pathetic debate performance by just repeating the same garbage which was debunked by Romney last night.


We REALLY need to get this man out of the white house.


Oct 4, 2012 4:01PM
"If these ideas are the best plan, then what the h-ll was the first term?"

Suppression. With the Party of NO trashing the economy and guaranteeing failure no matter what, what specifically was he going to do? Go full speed ahead and help them destroy us? I just don't get you... old enough to use the ID "OldChum" but there doesn't seem to be any wattage up there and a ridiculous selfishness about anyone except you. MILLIONS await the vote OUT of the Party of NO so we can move forward with intelligent progress... shifts to alternatives, stable economics, no Too Big To Fail and no Oligarchies. The 20th Century is over and unless YOU intend on returning to full time work... go make model ships or something.
Oct 4, 2012 3:58PM
There is a silver lining......Now the Billionaires will keep money flowing to Myth Robme instead of diverting to House and Senate races......and in the end, all a big waste of Money........for them.....

Oct 4, 2012 3:56PM
As I watched the debate I couldn't get past the thought that Obama was debating like he was never in office the last almost 4 years. Now all of the sudden he's got all these great ideas that are going to lead us out of this depression. If these ideas are the best plan, then what the h-ll was the first term? Are we supposed to believe it to be a practice session and he'll get it right if we give him another chance? If he admittedly can't change Washington politics and bring both sides together, then he needs to go.
Oct 4, 2012 3:56PM
"Whatever the cause, the market is higher, with bank, energy (especially coal) and materials stocks leading the way. Bank of America () was up 28 cents to $9.39. JPMorgan Chase () had risen 99 cents to $41.85. Regions Financial () had added 17 cents to $7.49."

Isn't this Big Banks borrowing us DEEPER into debt without good reason? No one else is UP.
Oct 4, 2012 3:55PM
I think Romney won the debate in terms of staying on message and energy.  President Obama looked exhausted.  Obviously it is more difficult to run this country and prepare for the debates than just attending debate camp for a week, like Romney did.

I was disappointed the Jim Lehrer did such a poor job moderating.  I'm not sure he had control over himself, let alone the debaters.

Since Mittens has spent the majority of his time campaigning to further lower tax rates for the wealthy and in the debate he came out in favor of the middle class, it makes you wonder which Mittens is the actual candidate.  Apparently Chris Christy got Romney to understand that to win an election you have to pander to the middle class.  Once you win the election, then you can do what you want.  I sure hope people see this for what it is: lies to the middle class to con them into voting for Mittens.

Oct 4, 2012 3:53PM

Romney WON,..... at setting a world record for more LIES told in a 3 hour period. WELL DONE MITTWIT!


Barack Obama in 2012!


Chris Van Hollen in 2016 & 2020!


God bless America!

Oct 4, 2012 3:51PM
Not to add insult to the dems but when you step so far out of the circle;  like calling Romney a murderer, liar, tax felon, and all  this other garbage, and then the American people see him and he seems like a sharp guy the Dems lose their credibility.  Now to suggest the oxygen was bad in Denver and complained Obama was negatively affected by this is another bad choice in my opinion.  Now if he is less than stellar on the next debate this will just be one more check down to their credibility.  Of course most liberals don't have or understand that term; you know credibility,  or perhaps figure everyone will forget, so I guess just letting them go on might be best.
Oct 4, 2012 3:46PM
I think we saw the REAL ROMNEY last nite --he was beligerent &  had no respect for the President or  Jim Lair.  He paid no attention to the 2 min. time each time, & butted in when Obama was speaking.  His rehearsed answers  were so monotinus & his eyes looked ljke a mad-man.. I think the American people  aren't stupid --they can see right thru him. His 47% and Bain Capital  Plus other flip-flops will follow him to the election.   
Oct 4, 2012 3:46PM


So you the guy who can't read a post properly much less understand it is going to educate me........ like I said this morning you would be in fine form today.

Tell me how is your lonely life of solitude treating you?  Yelling at the screen day and night must be fufilling..... do remember how long ago it was when the screen started yelling back?

Oct 4, 2012 3:43PM
some 73,000 jobs were created in Sept., according to my estimates
Oct 4, 2012 3:41PM

Why is MSNBC so afraid of the REAL headline: "Stocks advance after Romney clobbers Obama in debate"?



Oct 4, 2012 3:34PM

I believe President Obama gave his acceptance speech in this same state 4 years ago and he has been flying Air Force One around this country for months now -so I will not bite on the altitude as his problem last night.  I will accept his arrogance and the fact that he was not in Chicago where he was use to getting his way with Mafia style arm twisting bullying. 


He had his tail stuck up his rear end last night and could not handle the heat in the kitchen.  Most of the time he skirted the actual question and got away with it.  He is clueless about business and what makes it tick and it is showing big time!!!


OH - I forgot, Joey will clean Ryan's clock - HA HA HA

Oct 4, 2012 3:34PM
Yeah sure. Stocks up after it appears Romney will win the election. Want to see the market jump? Elect Romney!!!!
Oct 4, 2012 3:33PM
"In my past, bittersweet,
There's no love between the sheets,
Taste the blood, broken dreams,
Lonely times indeed,
With eyes cast down,
Fixed upon the ground,
Eyes cast down"
Shake Me Down. Should be Obama's theme song. Hope he got his anniversary nookie. I think he's on the couch for a while. Shameful record.
Oct 4, 2012 3:31PM
Well when you have smoked enough weed you forget your train of thought.......... Obama was the case in point for this last night.
Oct 4, 2012 3:26PM
Seems to me it wasn't that Romney was all that great, he was good.  Obama was just a no-show.  That's the last I have to say about it.  Spin the thing all you like it wasn't decisive enough to change the election in 1 night.  Obama has 2 more chances to be better.  If all 3 end up with the result I admit that could have an impact.  Far from over.
Oct 4, 2012 3:25PM

First time jobless claims were UP ONLY 4,000 for the last week from the previous week to 367,000 from a revised number from the previous week of 363,000.


Last week was reported at 359,000, so the increase is not 4,000 but 8,000 more.  Again, every week these numbers have been revised upward for almost 60 weeks now.  This is a way to skew (cook the books) to make things seem like something they are not.


The article goes on to say planned layoffs are less then normal - President Obama told companies not to send the required layoff notice out and (WE THE TAXPAYER) will pay for the attorney fees for these countries.


Executive orders of Presidents starting with IKE


IKE 2 in 8 yrs.

Kennedy 4 in 3 yrs.

LBJ 4 in 5

Nixon 1 in 6 yrs.

Carter 3 in 4 yrs.

Bush 3 in 4 yrs.

Clinton 15 in 8 yrs.

G. W. BUSH 62 in 8 yrs.




OBAMA 923 IN 3 1/2 YRS.


Congress should just stay at home if the "annoted one" is reelected.  


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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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