Market Recap: Markets Mourn Steve Jobs, Await Unemployment Data

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +1.21%, S&P +1.79%, Nasdaq +2.32%, Oil +3.64%, Gold +0.57%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $82.58 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,650.90 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 5.31% to $31.97 an ounce.

Hot Feature: Did the Gold and Silver Plunges Shakeout the Weak?

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Bank of England. The Bank of England announced today plans to expand its bond-buying program for the first time in almost two years as government budget cuts, combined with Europe’s debt crisis, pose an increasing threat to Britain’s economic recovery. The central bank will commit 275 billion pounds to buying sovereign debt, and expects to complete the new round of bond purchases within four months. The news gave U.S. markets a jump right out of the gate, but Jean-Claude Trichet’s announcement that the European Central Bank would keep interest rates at 1.5% disappointed many investors who expected the ECB to cut interest rates

2) Jobless claims. The Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for last week was released this morning. While initial unemployment benefits claims for the week ending October 1 rose to 401,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 395,000, the figure was lower than expected. Furthermore, the four-week moving average declined from 418,000 to 414,000.

3) Banks. Financials were some of the best-performing stocks today, led higher by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which climbed nearly 9%, followed by Citigroup (NYSE:C), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), all of which out-performed the major indices.

BONUS: Same-Store Retail Sales Rose 5.1% in September

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