Despite a strong employment report that showed 171,000 jobs added, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) fell slightly more than 1%, or 139 points, to finish the week at 13,093. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8%, even though job growth numbers from August and September were revised upwards by a total of 84,000. For October, businesses added 184,000 jobs, while governments shed 13,000 jobs, better than economist projections of 125,000 new jobs this month. September factory orders reported later in the morning also showed their strongest increase in a year and a half, at 4.8%.
Still, the market seemed unimpressed, as indexes started the day with small gains, but steadily fell until close, as the New York area struggled to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Investors may have also interpreted the employment numbers as a bonus for President Obama, whereas some believe Mitt Romney would be better for the economy.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) led the downward march today, falling 2.8%, after reporting an underwhelming quarter. A number of events hurt production during the period, including Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, a refinery fire in California, and an investigation of two oil spills in Brazil. The energy giant was also hurt by lower oil prices during the quarter. Earnings per share fell sharply to $2.69 from $3.92, short of estimates of $2.83. Revenues also declined by about 10%.
Fellow energy producer Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) also got hit hard, falling 7.9%, as the troubled company posted a $2 billion loss on one-time charges. When adjusted for those, Chesapeake turned in a profit of $0.10 a share, struggling with low natural gas prices that have hurt the industry as a whole. Looking ahead, the company plans to focus on oil and natural gas liquids, and cut back on natural gas.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) was by far the biggest winner on the Dow, gaining 1.1% today. B of A has been on a tear post-Sandy, climbing 8% in the last three days and on particularly heavy volume on Thursday and Friday. The bank plans to lend at least $2.5 billion to businesses affected by the storm, and CFO Bruce Thompson also said his bank may already be above global capital standards according to a recent ruling by the Financial Stability Board.
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