First Week of 2013 is in the Books!
Wall Street rounded out a super week with slight gains on Friday. Fueled by an in-line jobs report, equities had a relatively uneventful session as investors digested the economic news of the day as well as the state of fiscal and monetary policy. The end result, however, was good enough for the broader markets highest close since the start of the Great Recession. With 24 of 30 blue chips rising, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.85 points, or 0.3%, to 13,435.21. The S&P 500 climbed 7.10 points, or 0.5%, to 1,466.47. Financials and materials were the biggest gainers and information technology the biggest weight among the S&P 500’s 10 major sectors. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index gained 1.09 points, or 0.04%, to 3,101.66.
Crude-oil futures for delivery in February climbed 17 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $93.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the holiday shortened week, the front month contract rose 2.5%. Gold fell for the second straight day, falling $25.70 or 1.5% to settle at $1,648.90.
December payrolls met consensus expectations, rising 155,000 on the month following an increase of 161,000 in November. October and November saw net positive revisions of 14K. Analysts had forecasted a 155,000 rise in December. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8 percent in December, matching expectations. The Fed’s annual revisions increased the rate, originally forecasted at 7.7 percent, by 10 basis points. The all-important private payrolls were a little healthier than projected, rising 168,000 in December after increasing 171,000 the prior month. The consensus called for a 157,000 increase.
Goods-producing sectors , motor vehicle jobs, and manufacturing led the way. Service providing jobs rose as well, yet still hampered by the fiscal cliff debate. Government jobs fell 13,000 in December after dipping 10,000 the month before. The better than expected numbers in the report came in some leading labor market indicators. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent in December, following a 0.3 percent gain in November. The market consensus was for a 0.2 percent rise. The average workweek increased to 34.5 hours from 34.4 hours in November. Analysts projected 34.4 hours.
The other key data point on the session was the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, which came in well above the high end of the consensus range. The service sector posted a strong reading of 56.1 for a 1.4 point gain and the strongest rate of monthly growth since February.