After what looked like a pause mid-week, the market continued the party last week, pushing the S&P 500 above the psychological 1,000 mark and the Nasdaq to the 2,000 level. Markets clocked a fourth straight week of gains and climbed to the highest level since November. For the week ended August 7:
Dow: Up 2.2% to 9,370.07
S&P 500: Up 2.3% to 1,010.48
Nasdaq: Up 1.1% to 2,000.25
A better-than-expected jobs report and earnings reports boosted markets higher. In months past, the jobs report has been the party pooper for the market. This time it was finally different -- 247,000 jobs were lost in July, bringing the unemployment rate down to 9.4% from 9.5% in June. Economists were expecting the unemployment rate to tick up to 9.6%. It was the fewest number of jobs lost since August 2008. While still a sizeable chunk, it is a far cry from the job losses we’ve seen in previous months.
Though we’re seeing improved signs of recovery, it’s still a mixed bag for earnings. Consumers are still reticent to spend, and operating conditions, though improved, have a ways to go before full recovery. We’ll need to see an improvement in year-over-year comparisons, not just sequential numbers, before we know we’re on our way.
Consumer basics giant Procter & Gamble
American International Group
After three long months, PepsiCo
Earnings season is winding down, but this last week will be heavy on retail, with stocks from Macy’s to Nordstrom reporting. The Federal Reserve will be in focus this week as it holds its monthly FOMC meeting. In the coming weeks, the central bank is expected to announce whether it will extend the TALF program -- as well as its Treasury security purchase program -- now that financial markets appear to have stabilized.
For related Foolishness:
Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Whole Foods Market is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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