Welcome to the world of lowered standards, where still-high unemployment is a cause for joy. Expectations had been anchored around a net gain of only a 100,000 jobs, so when that number came in 63,000 higher than anticipated, rejoicing ensued. July's data more than doubles the April-June average, but it still pales compared to where we were earlier in the year. Feel the recovery!

With stocks up across the board, let's take a closer look at how the three major indexes are faring and check out several stocks making headlines.



Gain/Loss %

Intraday Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) 218.42 1.70% 13,097.30
Nasdaq 56.79 1.95% 2,966.56
S&P 500 25.34 1.86% 1,390.34

Source: Yahoo! Finance as of 11:00 a.m. EDT.

All thirty of the Dow's components are seeing green. The biggest gainer is currently Kraft (NYSE: KFT), up 4.3% to a new 52-week high after the hedge fund Third Point bought a massive $8.7 billion stake in the company. Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) isn't far behind, enjoying a 3.1% post-earnings pop thanks to a 45% increase in the bottom line while engaging in a $10 billion cost-cutting initiative.

We have to go off the Dow to find a big decliner, and there are few bigger today than Molycorp (NYSE: MCP), which had a quarter of its value erased after a poor earnings report that saw costs surge and production decline. Competitor Rare Element Resources (NYSE: REE) is also down 5% on the news. The rare-earth minerals sector is filled with hype and speculation, so only the most risk-tolerant investors should play in the space. (And even then, it still probably isn't a great idea.)

Many investors are attracted to speculative stocks like the rare-earth miners because they hold the allure of substantial short-term gains. But there are arguably better and more stable approaches to building long-term wealth and retiring well. In our free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," we reveal specific stocks that could help you, as well as some winning wealth-building strategies. Click here to keep reading.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.