Unemployment Drops, Consumer Confidence Plunges, and Netflix is Questioned: Market Recap

The markets were mixed on Friday as Wall Street digested both lower unemployment and lower consumer confidence.

DIJA: +0.62%, S&P 500: +0.29%, Nasdaq: -0.38%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.30 percent to $86.00 per barrel. Precious metals were up with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.21 percent to $1,705.30 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 0.06 percent to $33.14 per ounce about 6 minutes after the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to Friday’s top stock stories:

The ever-busy SEC may also be investigating Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and its CEO, Reed Hastings because of a Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) post in July that triggered a surge in the company’s stock price. The SEC claims the post violated rules governing selective disclosure. (Read more.)

Facebook, for its part, closed up nearly 2 percent despite the Italian tax police carrying out checks on the company.

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Here’s What the ECB Predicts for Next Year: Although the European Central Bank kept interest rates on hold at 0.75 percent on Thursday, the bank debated cutting rates this week and considered a cut for next year if the euro-zone economy does not pick up. The ECB’s interest rate decision came one day after the bank lowered its forecasts for next year’s growth… (Read more.)

Job Report Beats Expectations: In the month of November, the United States Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 146,000 jobs, pulling the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008. Friday’s results were far better than the 86,000 jobs that economists had estimated the Labor Department would report for the month… (Read more.)

Consumer Confidence Plunges Over the Cliff: Despite a better-than-expected November unemployment report, consumer confidence in the United States plummeted in December to its lowest level in four months. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index on consumer sentiment dropped to 74.5 this month, sharply lower when compared to the 5-year high of 82.7 in November… (Read more.)

Will Bernanke Grow the Fed’s Balance Sheet? As Stephen Oliner, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and former Fed Board advisor, would say, “We are deep into experimentation at this point.” Oliner is referencing the decisions Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other policymakers will have to make at a meeting on December 11 and 12. The fiscal cliff looms, Washington meanders, the economy struggles, and the ball’s in Bernanke’s court… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: Is Ben Bernanke Getting Ready to Grow the Fed’s Balance Sheet?