Stocks yield gains from job report, end mixed
NEW YORK » Wall Street turned in a mixed performance yesterday as investors set aside some initial enthusiasm over a stronger-than-expected jobs report to lock in some of their recent gains.
The reports on employment and the pace of orders at factories offered the market fresh evidence that the economy might not be in as worrisome a state as many had feared. But a surprise quarterly loss from Sun Microsystems Inc. weighed on the tech-laden Nasdaq composite index.
Still, buyers outnumbered sellers after a government report showed the nation's employers cut far fewer jobs than expected last month, stirring optimism about the buoyancy of the economy.
Dave Rovelli, managing director of U.S. equity trading at Canaccord Adams, said stocks pulled back from the day's highs because many investors opted to hold on to gains following a decent run-up, including a 190-point surge in the Dow Jones industrials on Thursday.
Yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 48.20, or 0.37 percent, to 13,058.20 after being up more than 100 points early in the session.
Broader stock indicators ended mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.56, or 0.32 percent, to 1,413.90, while the Nasdaq slipped 3.72, or 0.15 percent, to 2,476.99.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 3.86 billion shares compared with 4.32 billion shares traded Thursday.
The moves yesterday came a day after a rising dollar and falling oil prices emerged as promising signs for the economy. The Dow closed above 13,000 for the first time since Jan. 3.
Richard Sparks, a senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research, noted that on Thursday and yesterday the S&P 500 closed over the 1,400 mark for the first time since January.
"If we're able to continue above it, or if the S&P 500 is able to hold onto that level, that's going to be a big positive for the market," he said.
Bond prices declined yesterday as some investors moved into stocks from the safety of government debt. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.86 percent from 3.77 percent late Thursday.
Light, sweet crude rose $3.80 to settle at $116.32 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
The Labor Department's report that employers cut 20,000 jobs in April was a relief to Wall Street, which had been expecting payrolls to fall by 75,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent from 5.1 percent.
A separate report showing that factory orders increased in March following two months of declines added to an upbeat mood. The Commerce Department said U.S. manufacturers saw orders increase 1.4 percent in March. Economists expected a 0.2 percent increase after declines in January and February.
Sun Microsystems fell $3.69, or 23 percent, to $12.64 after the company stunned investors late Thursday by reporting a loss for the third quarter. The server and software maker blamed the loss on sagging sales to U.S. companies focused on consumers, which Sun said are delaying big-ticket spending.