Drop in Unemployment Rate Sends Stocks Higher

Positive news is emerging from the jobs market.

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
May 3, 2013 at 3:33PM

A stronger-than-expected jobs report from the Department of Labor has sent stock markets surging higher today. The U.S. economy created 165,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5% -- the lowest level since 2008. Both numbers beat estimates, and adjustments to March and February numbers added another 114,000 jobs. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up 0.89% and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) has risen 0.96%. 

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is one of the leaders on the Dow, climbing 2.2% today. The company announced a $275 million investment in a Tennessee plant to increase aluminum-sheet production for the auto industry. It also said it was considering shutting down 11% of its aluminum-smelting capacity because of weak demand. Aluminum prices have fallen to a level that makes this a prudent move, and with 13% of capacity already sitting idle, it would save the company money without hurting revenue. 

General Electric (NYSE:GE) is up 1.3% after the Federal Trade Commission gave the OK to its $3 billion acquisition of Lufkin Industries. GE is trying to increase exposure to the oil and natural-gas shale boom in the U.S., and this was a piece of that strategy. 

One company not enjoying the day's gains is JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), which has fallen 1.1%. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is looking into the company for possibly manipulating energy markets. JPMorgan once had a sterling reputation, but it's coming under heat from a number of regulators, and this is another caution sign investors should be worried about.