After a Soft Start, Most Market Gauges End Higher - TheStreet

After a Soft Start, Most Market Gauges End Higher

Today's jobs data did virtually nothing to make the rate outlook any clearer.
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Traders' hopes that perhaps today's

employment report

would clear up the interest-rate picture were quickly dashed and only a measure of befuddlement was left in its wake.

Despite the mixed news in the jobs data, most major market averages rallied handsomely, led by the

S&P 500

.

The Dow, S&P 500 and

Nasdaq Composite Index

all made solid advances. Small-caps, however, didn't participate in the advance, as the

Russell 2000

ended the session in the red.

Meanwhile, shrugging off a weak start, Internet stocks rallied to close higher and pad their recent whopping gains.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was led on the upside by

Inktomi

(INKT)

, which was up 7, or 5.7%, to 129 3/4.

Market Internals

Breadth was mixed while volume was heavy.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,446 advancers, 1,514 decliners, 895.7 million shares. 43 new 52-week highs, 131 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

2,000 advancers, 1,822 decliners, 1.02 billion shares. 92 new highs, 101 new lows.

Sector Watch

Drug stocks rallied in part on news of the

House's

passage of legislation allowing patients to sue health maintenance organizations. The

American Stock Exchange Pharmaceutical Index

soared 4%.

Retailers also exploded higher. The

S&P Retail Index

jumped 4.3%.

A steep drop in the price of crude oil futures helped lead to a selloff in the oil service and oil sectors. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

stumbled 1.8%, while the

Chicago Board Options Exchange Oil Index

fell 1.8%. Both gauges managed to end off their worst levels of the day.

Elsewhere on the down side, the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

tumbled 2.4%, while the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker Index

gave up 1%.

Bonds/Economy

Bond market trading closed early today ahead of the Columbus Day holiday. The bond market is closed Monday. However, the stock market's open.

But before everyone went home, there was enough time taken to sell the 30-year Treasury bond in the wake of the employment report. The

Labor Department

reported nonfarm payrolls fell 8,000 in September, a mile away from the growth of 218,000 new jobs predicted by economists, according to a

Reuters

poll. That was good news for stocks and bonds, which is skittish about the

Fed

raising interest rates. The jobless rate remained at 4.2% in September. On the troubling side for traders was word that average hourly earnings rose 7 cents to $13.37, the biggest one-month gain since September 1983.

International

Major European indices finished lower. London's

FTSE

lost 1 to 6199.4, while the Paris

CAC

was down 0.4% to 4721.93. Germany's

Dax

lost a hair to close at 5419.26.

Asian markets closed mostly lower ahead of the U.S. jobs report. In Tokyo, where markets will be closed Monday for a national holiday, the

Nikkei

fell 74.37 to 18,062.18. Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

shed a scant 0.78 to 13,112.42.

Currencies

The dollar rose a little bit against the yen and was quoted at 107.48 yen late in the day. The euro, meanwhile, was lately at $1.0629.

Market data above are preliminary. Updated numbers and analysis will follow in the Market Roundup

Earlier...

3:12 p.m.: S&P 500 Rally Gathers Momentum

Momentum was building heading into the final hour of trading behind the

S&P 500

as the index was trading near its session highs, led by health-care and consumer cyclical stocks.

2:16 p.m.: Stocks Mostly Higher as S&P 500 Jumps

The big-cap

S&P 500

was turning in a fine performance this afternoon while major market barometers overall were mixed in the wake of today's big

employment report

.

1:36 p.m.: Midday Musings: Market Finds No Certainty Despite Long-Awaited Jobs Release

12:15 p.m.: Stocks Narrowly Mixed While Bonds Remain Near Flat

Off their early lows, major indices were mixed at midsession in the wake of an oddball jobs report this morning.

11:12 a.m.: Stocks Remain Mixed After Jobs Data

Major proxies were mixed in midmorning trading as traders were nonplussed with the jobs report.

9:57 a.m.: Stocks Narrowly Mixed After Jobs Data

Major market averages were mixed early as traders digest this morning's September

employment report

.

The big-cap

S&P 500

was turning in a fine performance this afternoon while major market barometers overall were mixed in the wake of today's big

employment report

.

While the S&P 500 was leading major gauges higher, there was a notable blight on it, and its name was

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

, which was the biggest loser in the index. It was off xx% to xx after issuing a profit warning before the open and on subsequent downgrades by several firms. Xerox hit a 52-week low earlier when it cratered at the 30 level. In the contrarian camp on Xerox,

Credit Suisse First Boston

upgraded shares of Xerox to buy from hold with a 40 price target placed on the stock.

Market Internals

Despite the fact that most major stock proxies were higher, breadth was negative.

New York Stock Exchange:

1,345 advancers, 1,461 decliners, 613 million shares. 39 new 52-week highs, 97 new lows.

Nasdaq Stock Market:

1,726 decliners, 1,895 advancers, 683 million shares. 68 new highs, 82 new lows.

Sector Watch

Crude oil futures were swooning, with the November contract falling 5.9% to $21.13 a barrel and sideswiping oil service and oil stocks. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index

was down 4%, while the

Chicago Board Options Exchange Oil Index

was off 3%.

Semiconductor issues and computer makers were getting hammered. The

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index

was down 3%, while the

Philadelphia Stock Exchange Computer Box Maker

was also down 3%.

Bonds/Economy

The 30-year Treasury bond was slightly lower in the wake of today's employment report. The

Labor Department

reported nonfarm payrolls fell 8,000 in September, a mile away from the growth of 218,000 new jobs predicted by economists in a

Reuters

poll. The jobless rate remained at 4.2% in September.

International

Major European indices finished lower. London's FTSE lost 1 to 6199.4, while the Paris CAC was down 20.33 to 4721.93. Frankfurt's Xetra Dax lost 0.05 to 5419.26.

Asian markets closed mostly lower ahead of today's U.S. jobs report. In Tokyo, where markets will be closed Monday for a national holiday, the Nikkei fell 74.37 to 18,062.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed a scant 0.78 to 13,112.42.

Currencies

Retaining its recent firmness against the yen, the dollar was lately quoted at 107.58 yen, up from yesterday. The euro was trading at $1.0617. Earlier this week,

Merrill Lynch

put out its new currency forecasts, slapping a new three-month forecast for the yen to rise against the dollar but seeing it fall back against the dollar beyond that time frame. Merrill sees the dollar going to 103 yen from 110 yen. However, Merrill projects the dollar will rebound to 115 yen over six to 12 months.

As for the euro, it sees it going to $1.10.

Earlier...

1:36 p.m.: Midday Musings: Market Finds No Certainty Despite Long-Awaited Jobs Release

12:15 p.m.: Stocks Narrowly Mixed While Bonds Remain Near Flat

Off their early lows, major indices were mixed at midsession in the wake of an oddball jobs report this morning.

11:12 a.m.: Stocks Remain Mixed After Jobs Data

Major proxies were mixed in midmorning trading as traders were nonplussed with the jobs report.

9:57 a.m.: Stocks Narrowly Mixed After Jobs Data

Major market averages were mixed early as traders digest this morning's September

employment report

.