A strong jobs reports sent stocks higher once again today as major indexes pushed further into record territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) finished the day up 88 points, or 0.5%, to close at 16,924, while the S&P 500 also added on 0.5% to end the session 1,949. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, gained 0.6%.
The Department of Labor reported numbers essentially in line with expectations in the always-anticipated monthly jobs report, saying 217,000 payroll jobs were added in May, and that the unemployment rate held steady at 6.3%. Economists had predicted 220,000, and for the unemployment rate to move up to 6.4%. The report marked the first time since January 2000 that the country has seen four-straight months of 200,000-plus jobs growth, a sign that the labor market is finally making a return to full health after several years of weakness following the financial crisis. The number of long-term unemployed, which spiked because of the recession, remained essentially unchanged at 3.4 million during May, but has fallen by nearly 1 million in the last year. Average hourly earnings also improved by 0.2% last month after no change in April, showing that the improving labor market may be starting to bring up wage levels.
Turning to individual stocks, Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE: HTZ ) shares drove off a cliff today, finishing down 9% after the car-rental company said it would have to restate three years of financial reports due to accounting errors. Hertz also said in a filing that its first-quarter results are "likely to be below consensus, reflecting costs associated with the accounting review." The accounting errors relate to depreciation of non-fleet assets, its allowance for doubtful accounts in Brazil, and other items. We should learn more when the company reports earnings on Monday. The car-rental industry also got a jolt from Uber, which was valued at $17 billion, in its latest round of fundraising today. The app-driven ride service is more of a substitute for cabs than car rentals, but that price tag makes it more valuable than even Hertz, the industry leader, which carries a market cap of $12 billion. As Uber grows, it could present more of a threat to traditional players like Hertz.
Moving higher today was Quiksilver, (NYSE: ZQK ) , which finished up 10% on insider buying. Shares of the surf-inspired apparel company had fallen 40% earlier this week on an unseemly earnings report, but today, the CEO and CFO both purchased 100,000 shares in the company, a sign of faith as the company struggles with falling sales and widening losses with competition increasing. UBS also released a note saying that Quiksilver remains an attractive acquisition target for V.F. Corp, the parent of clothing companies like Timberland and North Face, which is known for buying big-name brands. With its low price tag and collection of well-known brands including Roxy and DC, a buyout may be the best hope for Quiksilver investors at this point.
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