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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) moved up 75 points, or 0.5% today, and the S&P 500 hit a fourth consecutive record high as investors reacted positively to an underwhelming jobs report, betting that it would keep the Federal Reserve from tapering its economic stimulus program when it meets next week. In its delayed report, the Department of Labor said just 148,000 jobs were added in September, below estimates of 183,000, and considerably lower than the average of 185,000 over the past year. Only 126,000 of those new jobs were in the private sector. Other statistics were little changed in the past month, as the number of long-term unemployed remained at 4.1 million and total part-time workers looking for full-time work held at 7.9 million. Still, the unemployment rate ticked down from 7.3% to 7.2%, and the August new job total was revised upward from 169,000 to 193,000, though the July total was dropped down by 15,000.
As has been a pattern, the market decided the weak jobs data meant the Fed would be less likely to taper its $85 billion monthly bond buying program, which caused the bullish reaction, as investors have feared that effects of the taper. The Fed was widely expected to begin cutting the bond-buying program at its last meeting in September, but the board decided jobs numbers were too weak. The DoL's jobs data also comes from before the shutdown, so it doesn't take into account the impact of private and federal government furloughs during the 16-day closure.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) led the Dow today, gaining 2.1% and hitting an all-time high at $69 in the process. There was no major news pushing the entertainment giant up, but it may have benefited from Netflix's (NASDAQ:NFLX) strong report last night, as Disney is one of Netflix's content providers, and Netflix's gain speaks for the viability of the home entertainment segment in general, in which Disney is a major player. Disney stock has gained 39% this year, tracking with the S&P 500 Media index, which has moved 38% year to date as entertainment providers have been able increasing fees to cable companies and others.
Speaking of Netflix, shares of the video streamer tumbled after opening up 10% as CEO Reed Hastings' message about the stock's "euphoric" valuation seemed to sink in. Shares finished down 9%. Last night, the stock jumped after Netflix reported another strong quarter, adding 1.3 million new subscribers, though Hastings commented that investors have a history of getting carried away with the stock's momentum runs, as it has twice crashed in the past 10 years, even though it has maintained a steady clip of subscriber growth throughout its history. With Netflix's P/E at 400, Hastings may have a point. Netflix would have grow earnings 10 to 20 times to bring down its stratospheric valuation to a reasonable rate.
Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple, Google, Netflix, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.