Stocks Soar on Surprisingly Strong July Job Report

by Pallavi Gogoi
Friday Aug 3, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks rose sharply on Wall Street early Friday after the government reported that employers stepped up hiring in July at the fastest pace in five months.

The stock market is headed for its first gain after four days of losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 223 points to 13,101 as of 10 a.m. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 24 points to 1,389, and the Nasdaq composite added 54 points to 2,964.

The Labor Department said Friday that the U.S. added 163,000 jobs last month, a turnaround following months of sluggish hiring.

Between April and June, the economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month compared with 226,000 jobs per month in the first three months of the year.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was yielding 1.55 percent, up from 1.48 percent on Thursday. Bond yields rise when investors move money out of low-risk assets like U.S. government debt.

Oil prices also rose as investors became more optimistic about the economy following the jump in hiring by U.S. employers. Benchmark crude shot up $2.76 to $89.96 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Despite the gain in hiring, there were still enough signs of weakness in the latest jobs report to keep hope alive that the Federal Reserve may still take more steps to kick-start the economy at its next meeting in September.

A separate survey of households by the Labor Department found that the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent in June.

At the end of a two-day policy meeting this week, the Fed said it would take action on the economy "as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery."

Several U.S. companies also turned in strong earnings reports. Procter & Gamble, which makes Tide, Bounty, NyQuil and many other consumer products, reported a 45 percent surge in quarterly earnings, easily beating Wall Street’s forecasts. P&G’s stock rose $1.54 to $65.06.

Other stocks making big moves included:

- Knight Capital jumped 77 cents to $3.35. The trading firm responsible for the stock market disruptions Wednesday morning obtained an emergency credit line, according to news reports. Knight said the losses, which were caused by a software glitch, will cost it $440 million. The stock had fallen 75 percent over the previous two days.

- LinkedIn shot up $13.55 to $107.06. The social media company reported that its second-quarter revenue increased faster than analysts had expected. LinkedIn also raised its full-year revenue forecast.

- EOG Resources soared $9.20 to $105.33. The energy company that was spun off from Enron more than a decade ago reported that its income rose 34 percent after its oil production rose in the last three months.

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