The markets are alive and well today, woken from their slumber by news of sovereign-bond purchases in Europe and better-than-expected employment numbers in the U.S. With a half-hour left in the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is up 1.69%, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) is up 1.88% to a four-year high.
The news from the European Central Bank this morning was that it would purchase bonds from weak Euro nations in an effort to lower their interest costs. When a country like Greece or Spain gets in trouble with debt, it can be a downward spiral as interest costs go up, which leads to a bigger deficit, cuts in spending, and on and on it goes. These countries have strict plans for reducing deficits, and now an open-ended bond purchasing program is hoped to be the solution to getting debt and deficits under control.
On the Dow, the ECB news helped push all 30 stocks higher, led by Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) , climbing 4.5% on hopes that this would reduce some of the risk in their portfolios. Not only is a country's default a major risk for their direct holdings but also for counterparties in Europe that could be affected by weak Euro nations.
News out of Europe was overshadowing potentially more important numbers from the jobs market. This morning, ADP said that private payrolls rose 201,000 in August, and a weekly jobless-claims report showed initial claims falling 12,000 to 365,000. Both of these numbers beat expectations and gave the market a positive attitude heading into tomorrow's all-important nonfarm payroll numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Economists expect that 120,000 jobs were added in August, and if the labor market beat that number, it could set a trajectory not only for the market but also for the election in the final four months of the year. See how our analysts think you should prepare your portfolio with our free report highlighting stocks that could skyrocket after the election. The report is free when you click here.