Market Recap: Stocks Jump on Jobs

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +1.23%, S&P +1.46%, Nasdaq +1.61%, Oil +1.43%, Gold -1.77%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $97.74 a barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,728.20 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 1.64% to settle at $33.62.

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Today’s markets were up because:

1) Jobs. Labor Department today lowered the U.S. unemployment rate by two-tenths of a point to 8.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since February 2009. January data showed nonfarm payrolls to have risen a whopping 243,000, wildly exceeding even the most optimistic of economists’ projections.

2) Services. The January installment of the Institute for Supply Management’s services index rose to 56.8, from a revised 53.0 in December, the highest level since February 2011. The services sector was shown to have expanded at a faster rate last month, boosted by new orders, while the ISM’s employment index rose from 49.8 in December to 57.4 in January, the highest level in six years.

3) Financials. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) led today’s rally despite being named in major lawsuits today, with Goldman alleged to have defrauded investors in a 2006 offering of mortgage-backed securities, while the former three have been accused by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of fraudulently using an electronic mortgage database to avoid the need for recording mortgage transfers. Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) also joined in the rally, each rising more than 3 percent.

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