U.S. Markets Turn Positive for Week, Despite Weak Jobs Report

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets showed resilience Friday, recouping all losses from a broad selloff earlier in the week. U.S. stocks jumped as investors looked beyond lower-than-expected headline employment numbers for January, and found that not only did some of the largest sectors of the labor force gain ground but more people went looking for work last month.

"While the report fell short of forecasts, the gains for construction and manufacturing get right to the heart of the debate and reaffirm that demand is strengthening and not weakening," Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Greenwich, Conn.-based Interactive Brokers, explained in a note.

  • The S&P 500 gained 1.33% to 1,797.02, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.06% to 15,794.08. The Nasdaq rose 1.69% to 4,125.86. The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq for the week gained 0.81%, 0.61% and 0.54%, respectively.
  • The U.S. work force added 113,000 jobs in January, lower than consensus of 185,000, according to Thomson Reuters. A significant increase was expected after December's dismal 74,000 reading.
    • A deeper look into the report showed that the labor force participation rate edged up to 63%. In 2013, the labor participation rate declined 0.8%, with a large number of people driven from the work force.
    • The civilian labor force rose by 499,000 in January.
    • Total employment increased by 616,000 over the month according to the household survey portion of the report.
    • The employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage points to 58.8%.
  • Positivity over the jobs data proved infectious.  The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.21% and Germany's DAX gained 0.49%, while France's CAC 40 added 0.96%.
  • In Asia, the Hang Seng moved 1% higher, and China's Shanghai Composite topped 0.56%.
  • Japan's Nikkei managed to close 2.17% higher, working to erase an 11.2% losing streak since the beginning of the year. The index was hit hard as global markets sold off earlier in the week and as data out of China indicated slowing growth.
  • Expedia (EXPE) was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, surging 14.3% to $74.45 after the online travel site's quarterly revenue jumped 18% and per-share earnings beat estimates by 6 cents.
  • Cigna  (CI) was the worst performer in the index after the health insurer lowered its first-quarter earnings guidance. Shares tumbled 9.3% to $77.47.

-- Written by Andrea Tse, Keris Lahiff and Joe Deaux in New York.

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