It was a wobbly week for stocks, with the Dow, Nasdaq, and the S&P ultimately enjoying some decent gains:
|Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI )||+142.36 [+1.17%]||12,359.92|
|S&P 500||+20.21 [+1.61%]||1,277.81|
The market is caught in a struggle between some reasonably good economic data and the fear that we need to see much faster improvement, particularly in light of the ever-struggling eurozone.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) gained an incredible 8.6% yesterday, as a positive jobs survey trickled in and reports emerged that officials working on a national foreclosure fraud settlement are considering allowing banks to apply mortgage restructurings as credits toward the $20 billion or so in penalties they were expected to pay. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) also rose 2.1%.
Besides banks, other cyclical companies like Alcoa and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) enjoyed a good week, on the backs of upbeat employment and manufacturing data. Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford (NYSE: F ) reported strong December sales figures and expressed optimistic outlooks.
And today, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy gained 200,000 jobs and unemployment shrank to 8.5% in December. That's an impressive figure, but it'll take years to return to full employment.
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