Apparently, Wall Street still had some 4th of July jubilance left over from yesterday, as stocks surged to head into the weekend. Next week, markets will react to the beginning of earnings season, which unofficially kicks off on Monday, as well as jobless claims numbers and consumer sentiment. Friday, however, was all about jobs growth, which came in stronger than expected, as payrolls grew by 195,000 in June. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) added 147 points, or 1%, to close at 15,135.
Financials led the charge in the blue chip index, with American Express (NYSE:AXP) ending as the day's top performer on 2.3% gains. A strengthening labor market has obvious advantages to credit card companies: With more money to go around, America's consumer-driven economy has more discretionary income to spend on things like, I don't know, fireworks and burgers. (There might be some good deals on bottle rockets this weekend... just a guess.)
JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) shares also rose 2.3% today, benefiting from the secular 1.5% gains in the financial sector. Aside from that, the $200 billion bank also saw charges against it thrown out by a district judge in a case alleging wrongdoing in foreign exchange, or FX, trading. The accusation that JPMorgan overcharged its currency-trading clients was dismissed for lack of evidence, giving investors one less potential litigation cost to worry about.
Still, there were a few laggards in the index on Friday: three, to be exact. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) was one of those, barely ending in the red after posting 0.1% losses. It's not much of a slip, that's for sure, which is fitting, because there was no real negative news from the company. Today's minor blip doesn't change much about the networking giant's positioning as one of the dominant global innovators in technology, a fact the market has realized rather quickly as the stock ran up 45% in the last year.
Lastly, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) shares shed 0.3% today. Despite trading at 18 times forward earnings -- a price some would consider expensive for a mature business like P&G -- the consumer-goods behemoth is currently offering a 3.1% dividend yield, a rate that can get some income investors' mouths watering. However, with interest rates rising today on the bet that the Fed's tapering may come sooner than expected, the stock is competing with bond investors seeking higher yields, and may see further falls as rates rise.
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