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.
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