Unemployment Declines and the Dow Sets a Record: Market Recap

The markets rallied on Friday, spurred by improvements in labor-market conditions and a generally positive earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 15,000 for the first time. At the close:

DJIA: +0.96% to 14,974.00 S&P 500: +1.05% to 1,614.42 NASDAQ: +1.14% to 3,378.63
Gold: -$3.40 to $1,464.20 per ounce Oil: +$1.47 to $95.46 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: +0.113 to 1.739%

Unemployment’s Down, But Is It Enough? On Friday, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Employment Situation report showing that the United States economy had created 165,000 jobs in April, slightly lowering the unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent — a four-year low. Last month’s job growth also represented a significant improvement from March’s anemic payroll gain of an upwardly revised 138,000… (Read more.)

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Are Falling Factory Orders a Bad Economic Omen? Orders placed with U.S. factories fell more than forecast in March as the slumping economy weakened demand for metals, mining equipment, and military goods. March’s 4 percent drop in bookings was the largest decrease since August, according to the Commerce Department. As economists forewarned earlier in the year, the biggest restraint on growth has been the massive, across-the-board government spending cuts implemented in March after Congress failed to reach a fiscal deal and January’s hike in payroll taxes… (Read more.)

Economic Headaches: What’s Behind the Second-Quarter Slowdown? The Institute for Supply Management reported on Friday that economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew for the 40th consecutive month in April. The NMI registered 53.1 percent, a 1.3 percentage point decline from March but still above the dividing line between growth and contraction, drawn at 50 percent… (Read more.)

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

CBOE Holdings (NASDAQ:CBOE) closed the day up 3.31 percent after reporting strong first-quarter financial results. Revenue increased 17.55 percent on the year to $142.7 million, beating the average estimate of $139.3 million. Adjusted earnings increased 35.14 percent to $0.50 per share, beating the average estimate of $0.47 per share… (Read more.)

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Kraft Foods Group (NASDAQ:KRFT) closed the day up 5.11 percent following the company’s earnings announcement after the bell on Thursday. Revenue rose 2 percent to $4.55 billion, beating the average estimate of $4.49 billion. Adjusted earnings of $0.76 per share beat the average estimate of $0.64 per share.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) closed the day up 2.89 percent after it announced that it became the first major U.S. retailer to sell 3D printers. The company is now selling the Cube 3D Printer from 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), which closed the day up 0.96 percent.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) closed the day down 12.93 percent . The world’s largest professional social network posted relatively strong first-quarter results, but provided underwhelming guidance. Net income surged 210 percent to $52.4 million. On a per share basis, the company earned 45 cents per share, beating expectations for 30 cents by a wide margin. Revenue jumped 72 percent to $324.7 million, also beating Wall Street’s consensus estimate for $324.7 million. Linked in guided second-quarter revenues in a range between $342 and $347 million, below expectations for $358 million… (Read more.)

AIG (NYSE:AIG) closed the day up 5.67 percent. The insurer, now a favorite among hedge funds after nearly collapsing during the financial crisis, reported first-quarter financial results that were generally satisfying. Insurance operating income climbed 28 percent on the year to $3.0 billion. Overall profit fell 35 percent to $1.98 billion, or $1.34 per share, which beat estimates for $0.87 per share.

Don’t Miss: Unemployment’s Down, But Is It Enough?