It wasn't long ago that investors and analysts were all watching and waiting for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) to hit the 14,000 mark. And here we've reached another milestone: The index topped the 15,000 mark just an hour into trading. With the much-anticipated employment report delivering good news to the market, there's no telling how high the index could climb today.
That refers, of course, to the newly released unemployment rate of 7.5%. With 165,000 new jobs created in April and revisions made to prior months' figures by the Department of Labor, the jobs market is looking better than it has in a long while. Beating the expectations of analysts and economists, the influx of new jobs shows that federal budget cuts and overall economic malaise haven't negatively impacted job-creation, as many had expected.
The newest jobs data reinforces the growing sense that the recovery is at least continuing in the right direction. Earlier in the week, the ADP private-sector employment report caused some concerns, showing that small businesses were reluctant to add to their workforce in the current economic conditions. But yesterday's jobless-claims report and Challenger job cuts report both trended toward the same results we're seeing today. Both reported drops in their respective data, with new jobless claims falling to a five-year low and the Challenger report falling to pre-recession levels.
27 for 30
As of 11:15 a.m. EDT, all but three of the Dow's component stocks are in positive territory.
Financials are getting a much-needed bump this morning after growing support for new legislation seemed to weigh them down in the past few days of trading. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is up 1%. The bank falls into a category within the legislation that would require it to hold 15% of its assets in capital reserves -- a hefty amount, considering that the current regulations require 7%, with an additional 2.5% required if the bank is deemed to be growing too large.
Outside the Dow, insurer MBIA (NYSE:MBI) is up 11.3% after settling a legal case with lender Flagstar Bancorp (NYSE:FBC) over two mortgage-backed securities transactions. MBIA alleged that Flagstar misrepresented the securities, resulting in the insurer's payout of $165 million on the policies. Flagstar has agreed to pay MBIA $110 million to settle the case. This legal dispute is similar to the current battle between MBIA and Bank of America. The insurer recently lost its bid for a pretrial ruling on the case, driving the stock lower.