Wall Street closed higher on Thursday following the release of better-than-expected nonfarm payroll data of June. However, market rally was restricted as investors’ remained concerned about growing new cases of the coronavirus in the United States. All three major stock indexes ended in the green. The market was closed on Friday to observe the July Fourth Independence Day holiday.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.4% to close at 25,827.36. Notably, 24 components of the 30-stock blue-chip index ended in the green while 6 closed in red. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended at 10,207.63, gaining 0.5% due to strong performance by large-cap tech stocks. During intraday session the tech-laden index posted a new all-time high of 10,310.36.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 advanced 0.5% to end at 3,130.01. The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) and the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) surged 1.9% and 1.1%, respectively. Notably, nine out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in positive territory while two in negative territory.

Major gainer of the S&P 500 was Noble Energy Inc. NBL surging 7.8%. Noble Energy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 3.3% to 27.68. A total of 10.03 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 13.24 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.90-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.28-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.

Robust Job Additions in June

The Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, well above the consensus estimate was 3.51 million. Moreover, May’s job additions were revised upward from 2.509 million to 2.699 million. Notably, in April and March, the U.S. economy lost 22.1 million jobs. However, the economy regained 7.5 million jobs in the last two months.

Systematic reopening of the U.S. economy after two months of lockdowns is the primary reason for this fabulous payroll data. Industry wise, major gainers are leisure and hospitality, retail, education and health services, manufacturing, professional and business services, professional and laundry services, construction and transportation and warehousing that added 2.088 million, 739,800, 568,000, 356,000, 306,000, 264,000, 158,000 and 99,000 jobs, respectively.

Unemployment rate decreased to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May. The consensus estimate was 12.4%. The real unemployment rate including discouraged workers and the underemployed, declined to 18% from 21.2%. Average hourly earnings declined 1.2% as more low-salaried people joined workforce. However, year over year, this metric was up 5%. The average work week decreased 0.2 hours to 34.5 hours.

Other Economic Data

The Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims came in at 1.427 million for the week ended Jun 27 compared with a revised 1.482 million in the previous week. However, the consensus estimate was 1.302 million. Moreover, continuing claims (people receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks) grew 59,000 to 19.29 million for the week ended Jun 20.

Jump in New Coronavirus Cases

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University the United States witnessed a record-breaking 50,600 new coronavirus cases on Jul 1. Cases were growing by 5% or more, based on the change in average new cases compared with last week, in 40 states across the country. Moreover, Florida reported more than 10,000 COVID-19 new cases on Jul 2, the biggest one-day increase in the state since the pandemic started.

Weekly Roundup

Last week was an impressive one for Wall Street. All three major stock indexes – the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite – rallied 3.3%, 4% and 4.6%, respectively. Despite the resurgence of the coronavirus, gradual reopening of the U.S. economy and better-than-expected economic data strengthened investors’ confidence on risky assets like equities.

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