Jobs Report Buoys Bulls

Updated from 6:46 a.m. EST

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Maybe it didn't put in a performance worthy of winning an Oscar, but the jobs report Friday did go a long way to turning our sentiment poll decidedly bullish.

Participants in's RealMoney Barometer Poll who were bullish tallied 749 votes, or 58.8% of the 1,273 votes cast in the poll. Bearish votes tallied 360, or 28.3%, while poll-takers who were neutral came in with 164votes, equal to 12.9%.

U.S. stock markets rose Friday after nonfarm payrolls fell by 36,000 during February and the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%. Analysts had believed that about 68,000 jobs would be lost from nonfarm payrolls in February, while the unemployment rate was expected to rise to 9.8%.

> > View Poll Results

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.17% Friday, closing at 10,566.20. The S&P 500 gained 1.4% Friday and the Nasdaq rose 1.48%.

The Dow gained 2.3% last week; Nasdaq added 3.9%.

In the poll, commercial banks was widely viewed as the sector most likely to rise this week, while precious metals was seen as the sector most likely to post declines.

The retail sector, which posted impressive sales last week and played a role in buoying market sentiment, gets further reads this week when retailers such as J. Crew ( JCG)and American Eagle ( AEO) post earnings reports. Meanwhile, the government's retail sales report is scheduled for Friday and is expected to come in flat largely because of the massive snowstorms that hit the Northeast during February.

In corporate news, AIG ( AIG) and MetLife ( MET) wrapped up the $15.5 billion sale of AIG's second-biggest foreign life-insurance unit, American Life Insurance.

The poll closed at 9:15 a.m. Monday.

On Monday in Asia, stocks in Tokyo and Hong Kong posted gains of at least 2%, while European shares were lower.

Here is a wrap-up of our other polls:

The unemployment rate will likely fall below 8% by the end of 2010, according to TheStreet users.

In a weeklong poll conducted during the week of March 1, we asked readers of TheStreet to predict what the unemployment rate would be by year's end, offering a range of options form which to choose. And readers of TheStreet were surprisingly optimistic. A full 22% of voters said they believed unemployment would fall below 8%, while another 21% predicted that the rate would drop to between 8% and 9%; in other words, 43% believe the unemployment rate will drop below 9% by year's end.

Another 23% of voters said unemployment would finish the year where it currently is -- between 9% and 10% -- while only 18% said it would finish between 10% and 11% and 16% said it would close the year at more than 11%.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our unemployment rate poll

Perhaps Tiger Woods could take a tip on damage control from Toyota ( TM) President Akio Toyoda -- at least on how not to make the world dislike you and what you stand for even more.

Granted, their respective situations are not exactly analogous. Still, lessons can be gleaned from both televised speeches.

While both clearly should have volunteered to make a formal public apology to the world much sooner -- Tiger waited for three months before his, and Toyoda at first balked at the idea of a testimony on Capitol Hill -- at least Toyoda spoke with emotion. He even shed tears when addressing dealers after the hearing.

All of which is a prelude to the poll question we posed to our readers last week, namely: What are your opinions of Toyota, in light of Toyoda's testimony? The largest proportion of voters, 41.1%, agreed with the response, "I trust Toyota cars as much as I did before," while 30.6% agreed with the statement, "I'm less trusting of Toyota cars now."

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our Toyota poll

Amid the recent bottling acquisitions at Coca-Cola ( KO) and PepsiCo ( PEP), we asked users of TheStreet which soft drink company they think will get the most out of their respective deals.

The results were strongly delineated: The greatest percentage of voters felt that Pepsi, with 42.8% of the votes, would get the best bang from of its bottling buy. By this way of thinking, the deal with Pepsi Americas and Pepsi Bottling Group will allow for higher cost savings and much more efficient distribution of products globally.

On the other hand, voters seem skeptical of Coke's decision to buy Coca-Cola Enterprise's ( CCE) North America operations -- and one can see where the lack of faith in that deal is coming from, given North America's slower-growth soda market profile. About 22.6% of voters sided with Coke on this one.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our Soda Wars poll

Investors have had a week to digest the annual report from Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B), and they clearly liked what they saw in the Berkshire Hathaway 2009 complete performance portrait. Berkshire Hathaway's B shares began the week trading at $80, and by the close on Friday, had reached $83.36.

Warren Buffett's epistolary elegance -- ranging from digressions into Prussian mathematics to groan-inducing puns to allusions to famous lines in literary history -- is always a noted annual event, alongside the usual gains made by Berkshire Hathaway shares. In light of this, we asked TheStreet readers to chime in on their favorite lines from Buffett's annual letter. After making some tough choices ourselves on which Buffett quotes to put on the humor short list, we asked readers: Which Warren Buffett quote do you think was the 2009 report's finest?

The line they chose? In reiterating his reluctance to use common shares in any acquisition -- before explaining why it made sense in the acquisition of Burlington Northern to go ahead and use the shares -- Buffett wrote, "Charlie and I enjoy issuing Berkshire stock about as much as we relish prepping for a colonoscopy."

Approximately 27% of survey-takers voted Buffett's gastrointestinal guffaw as 2009's best -- not surprising for a national audience that finds Jay Leno and Two and a Half Men funny.

>>Click here for full results and analysis of our Berkshire Hathaway poll

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York.

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