Mid-Day Update: Stocks Keep Some Gains as Unemployment Rate Plunges

Stocks are up moderately in mid-day trading after getting a boost from better-than-expected employment data showing the jobless rate fell to 8.6% - the lowest level in two years.

This morning, the Labor Department said the U.S. gained 120,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9.0%. The government also revised jobs data for October and September to show that 72,000 additional jobs were created over the two months. Private-sector hiring in November reached 140,000, the agency calculated.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 125,000 increase in employment in November and no change in the jobless rate. About half of the drop in the unemployment rate stemmed from a decline in the number of workers in the labor force, government officials explained.

Overseas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech reinforced the view that European leaders are prepared to take major action at a Dec. 9 summit toward tighter fiscal union. Merkel called for a quick round of treaty changes that would allow closer fiscal coordination, MarketWatch reported.

In mid-day company news:

BP ( BP ) ADRs are higher while the company's Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, will be taking a non-executive position at Volvo AB.

Research in Motion ( RIMM ) shares are sliding after the company said it would take a $485 million charge. The maker of the BlackBerry said it would record a pre-tax provision in Q3 of fiscal 2012 of approximately $485 million, $360 million after tax, related to its inventory valuation of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. The charge is expected to be predominantly non-cash. The company no longer expects to meet its full year adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance of $5.25-6.00.

JetBlue Airways ( JBLU ) was slightly lower after announcing an expansion at New York's LaGuardia and Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport. JBLU purchased two bundles of eight slot pairs, recently made available in an FAA auction. A slot pair provides authorization for one daily arriving flight and one daily departing flight and will allow JetBlue to double its already popular service at both airports in 2012.

Google ( GOOG ) is higher as the company said it is looking to take on e-commerce giant ( AMZN ), according to a report. Google is in talks with major retailers and shippers about creating a service that would let consumers shop for goods online and receive their orders within a day for a low fee, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) shares are down while the banks fourth quarter earnings increased 43% to top expectations. Also, this morning, Fitch Ratings said that Chinese banks are under increased strain, which will show up only after asset quality weakens, according to a MarketWatch report. Bank of China (BACHY) ADRs are flat.

Shares of Hospira (HSP) are down while Bloomberg reports that the company has become very inexpensive that buyers could buy the company, according to the news service's Real M&A column. HSP makes generic injectable drugs.

Commodities are higher as February gold contracts are up 0.47% to $1,748 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are up 0.01% to $100.18 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.16% to $38.67 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.37%, to $7.91.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.09% to $169.49. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 2.92% to $58.55. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.28% to $31.77.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 26.05 (+0.35%) to 7,476.48

-DJIA up 32.69 (+0.27%) to 12,052.72

-S&P 500 up 5.6 (+0.47%) to 1,250.40

-Nasdaq up 11.81 (+0.46%) to 2,638.58


Nikkei up 1.9%

Hang Seng up 5.6%

Shanghai Composite up 2.2%

FTSE-100 up 0.4%

DAX-30 down 0.7%


NYSE Energy up 0.32% at 12,492.51

NYSE Financial up 1.69% at 4,069.36

NYSE Health Care down 0.32% at 6,819.44

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.16% at 1,105.02


(+) GOOG (+0.9%) firm as WSJ report says search firm wants bigger retail push.

(+) SINA (+3.7%) upgraded.

(+) ONCY (+4.4%) says REOLYSIN trial hits primary endpoint.

(+) LOW (+1.1%) upgraded.

(+) NICE (+1.1) buys Merced Systems for up to $170 mln, seen accretive.

(+) PVH (+7.5%) firmer but pares evening gain that followed earnings, guidance beat.

(+) ZUMZ (+23.2%) continues evening gain that followed earnings beat.

(+) MITL (+22.6%) looks to continue evening gain that followed earnings, guidance beat.

(+) LULU (+5.9%) upgraded.

(+) INFY (+0.6%) started with Hold rating at analyst.


(-) RIMM (-8.1%) revises guidance due to playbook charge.

(-) GES (-2.4%) downgraded.

(-) CLS (-3.5%) downgraded.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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