Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +1.21%, S&P +1.79%, Nasdaq +2.32%, Oil +5.39%, Gold +1.46%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $79.75 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,639.60 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 2.06% to $30.45 an ounce.
Hot Feature: Did the Gold and Silver Plunges Shakeout the Weak?
Today’s markets were up because:
1) Economic data. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non-manufacturing businesses had the services sector expanding for the 22nd consecutive month in September, though its rate of growth slowed slightly last month when compared to August. While the Employment Index decreased 2.9 percentage points to 48.7%, indicating contraction in employment after 12 consecutive months of growth, an Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) report also released this morning had the private sector adding 91,000 jobs in September, enough to keep the unemployment rate steady at 9.1%.
2) Europe. Markets continue to react to every piece of news coming out of Europe, and today German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announced that her government would support plans to recapitalize banks. Merkel’s expression of her support for recapitalization followed a report from the International Monetary Fund calling for such a plan in order to ward off another economic slowdown that could result in a double-dip recession. With the leader of the euro zone’s largest economy supporting a measure to recapitalize banks, it now seems more likely that, should it be necessary, Europe will step up to shore up the financial sector.
3) Tech. Two of the Dow’s biggest earners today were Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), while Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) climbed on rumors that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) might be considering acquiring the Internet company, helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq to a higher close. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continued to rally today after taking a dip yesterday following the announcement of the iPhone 4s, which many had hoped would be an iPhone 5, but it was Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) that was the sector’s biggest earner, with shares climbing over 12% on rumors that Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) might be among interested in bidding on the smartphone maker.