Stock markets roared back to life today after the Department of Labor announced that 175,000 jobs were added in May and the unemployment rate ticked slightly higher to 7.6%. The expectation was for 167,000 additional jobs, and based on the last few days of trading and word around Wall Street, the market was actually expecting even worse than that.
If there's such thing as a status quo in the labor market, this is it. Over the past 32 months, the average nonfarm payroll increase has been 178,000, and we're a rounding error away from that today. While the numbers might not look good, we have to consider that tax hikes and sequestration have hit this year. The fact that we're at least maintaining the status quo can be seen as a positive in the current environment.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) is up 2.5% to lead the Dow. The company looks like it has left its 787 Dreamliner troubles behind and is signing up billions in new orders. This week, Singapore Airlines said it will order 30 787-10X jets, and today it was announced that Rolls-Royce has won the engine contract. This gives the 787 more momentum, and large aircraft orders can't be a bad sign for the economy overall.
On the flip side, AT&T (NYSE:T) has fallen 0.9% along with the broader telecom sector after reports surfaced that the NSA is demanding call data. In the long term, I don't think the NSA probe will be a big deal, because its data-mining is part of a long-running operation that many were already aware of. Apple's patent suit loss to Samsung this week should be of more concern to AT&T investors. The iPhone has helped drive AT&T into a duopoly with Verizon Wireless, and the loss of the low-cost iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G will be an incremental negative for a company trying to get more consumers subscribing to data plans.