Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +0.74%, S&P +1.05%, Nasdaq +1.36%, Oil +1.96%, Gold +0.11%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) made another reversal and climbed to $98.54 a barrel. Precious metals continued to rise, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) up to $1,530.90 an ounce and Silver (NYSE:SLV) up 1.43% to $36.43 an ounce.
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Today’s markets were up because:
1) Initial jobless claims report. According to today’s report, initial jobless claims fell 14,000 last week, bring the 4-week merging average to a decline of 3,000 from the previous 4-week period. Also released today was Automatic Data Processing’s June jobs survey, which found that 157,000 private-sector jobs were created last month, well above expectations of less than 100,000 new jobs.
2) ECB remains strong. The European Central Bank raised its lending rate today by 25-basis points to 1.25%, reiterating the bank’s intent not to allow Greece, Portugal, or any other troubled nations to go into default, boosting investor sentiment. The ECB also announced that it would relax some credit rules for Portugal, allowing the country more freedom in handling its debt crisis.
3) Retail. Same-store sales were up in June, pushing the S&P Retail Index up 2.36% today along with national chains like Target (NYSE:TGT), Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE:LTD), and Macy’s (NYSE:M). The sector led today’s gains on the NYSE where advancers outnumbered decliners three-to-one.
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