Thursday, July 31, 2008

Markets Rise on Private Sector Employment Data, Oil Gains on Supply Data

On Wednesday, the major indices extended their gains from Tuesday on private sector jobs data from ADP and energy stocks buoyed by supply data.

Economists had been predicting a loss in jobs in the sector, but to everyone's surprise, the number was a gain of 9,000 jobs. This sent the futures up, and it set the tone for the day. Friday's payroll report is now the main focus, and if it is positive, the market could continue to see upward movement.

The price of oil rose nearly 4% after weekly inventory data showed a decline in gasoline stockpiles, sparking supply concerns. This moved ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) higher, and it helped propel the Dow (both are Dow components).

The Dow and S&P were further helped by continued gains in financials. Bank of America (BAC) jumped 4.3% and Citigroup (C) climbed 2%. Merrill Lynch (MER) rose 2.5%.  Financials were primarily driven by statements from The Fed and other central banks. They said they would continue to increase liquidity to stabilize financial companies struggling with credit losses.

At day's end, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) had moved up 186.13 points or 1.63%. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) climbed 21.06 points or 1.67%. The NASDAQ (COMP) gained 10.10 points or 0.44%.

Source: Thomson Reuters, AP

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