Stocks Higher on January Employment Report!
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday despite a second straight monthly jobs report that fell significantly short of expectations. Stock futures rapidly fell after the jobs data was reported, but recovered and closed the pre-market session higher, leading to an up open for the broader market. The averages gained upside momentum near mid-morning and stand close to session highs near midday.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., 113,000 non-farm jobs were added last month, versus the expected increase of 180,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6%, hitting its lowest level since October 2008. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Apple (AAPL) climbed 2% after CEO Tim Cook revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the company has bought back $14 billion of its own shares since it reported its earnings on January 27. Cook said he wants to be "aggressive" and "opportunistic" with the company’s buyback program, noting that Apple had bought back a record total of more than $40 billion of its own shares over the past year… Shares of professional networking company LinkedIn (LNKD) fell 7% after the company reported better than expected fourth quarter results, but issued a disappointing revenue forecast for the first quarter and fiscal 2014.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers following their earnings reports were healthcare services company athenahealth (ATHN), which rose 25%, and women’s apparel retailer bebe stores (BEBE), which advanced 18%. Also rising were shares of Expedia (EXPE) and its fellow online travel agencies after Expedia reported stronger than expected fourth quarter results. Among the noteworthy losers was IT services provider Genpact (G), which fell 19% after the company said it expects the revenue headwinds it faced in 2013 to continue and its stock was downgraded at Wells Fargo and JPMorgan.