After Market: Stocks Keep Rising Ahead of May Jobs Report

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Investors are often cautious on the day ahead of the government's monthly jobs report, but that wasn't the case Thursday. The Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 both rallied to record highs, helped by the European Central Bank's move to cut key interest rates to near zero. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 98 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 12, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rallied 44 points.

The Dow was led upward by Caterpillar (CAT) and Microsoft (MSFT), both up more than 2 percent. FBR Capital raised its rating on Microsoft to "outperform."

General Motors (GM) edged lower. An internal report on the company's faulty ignition switches found incompetence and neglect, but no conspiracy and no cover-up. GM shares are lower so far this year as the recalls and negative reports about the company's conduct have piled up.

Amazon (AMZN) jumped 5 percent on news reports that it's about to launch its own smartphone.

Barnes & Noble (BKS) gained 3½ percent. It's partnering with Samsung on a co-branded tablet due out by the end of the summer.

And Netflix (NFLX) added 1 percent. It's now blaming Verizon (VZ) for slowing the speed on Internet delivery of its movies. Netflix shares are now up more than 90 percent over the past year. Verizon responded by sending a legal challenge to Netflix, saying there's no basis for its charges.

On the merger front, investors are hanging up on Sprint (S) following reports that it's near a deal to pay $50 billion to buy T-Mobile (TMUS). Sprint lost 4 percent and T-Mobile fell 2 percent.

But Whole Foods (WFM) gained 4½ percent on a report it may be a takeover target, with the large privately held supermarket chain Publix mentioned as a possible suitor.

As for earnings, Rite Aid (RAD) slid 7½ percent after lowering its outlook. PVH (PVH) also cut its outlook. The owner of the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands fell 8 percent. And handbag maker Vera Bradley (VRA) fell 5 percent as earnings tumbled.

On the upside, network equipment company Ciena (CIEN) jumped 18 percent after beating expectations and raising its outlook.

What to Watch Friday:
  • The Labor Department releases employment data for May at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for April at 3 p.m.
  • Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) reports quarterly financial results after markets close in New York.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

10 Tough Financial Questions You Must Ask Your Soon-to-Be Spouse
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After Market: Stocks Keep Rising Ahead of May Jobs Report
Your credit score can affect your ability to start a family, buy a house or replace a car. Once you've married, your partner's credit score can be your problem, too, and it's not one you want to find out about after you file a loan application. Hint: It's a bad sign if your intended can't or won't answer this question.
Most of us consider this to be a closely guarded secret, but you can't hide it from your soon-to-be spouse for long. Nor should you. As you plan a life together, you need to know that both of you have realistic hopes and expectations about the lifestyle you'll enjoy.
You should know whether the person you're about to marry is living paycheck-to-paycheck. Many young people just starting out haven't banked much, and can't. But together you can work out a plan to establish an emergency fund covering three to six months of expenses.
A truly embarrassing question, but one that must be asked. Marrying someone makes their debt yours, too. And a substantial debt can wreck the lifestyle you want together. There is a worst-case scenario here: If the person you're planning to marry is skipping out on obligations like a student loan, credit card payments or child support, you might rethink your choice of partner. If your loved one just has poor spending habits, work it out together now.
As a couple, you need to decide whether you will keep your money in separate or joint bank accounts. Kadish notes that many couples opt for both, with a joint account for family expenses and separate personal accounts to cover day-to-day spending. Agreeing in advance on their use prevents squabbles later, not to mention the potential for bounced checks.
Talk about whether the health coverage each of you has is adequate to your needs as a couple. You may find that your partner's policy is better than yours, and that you can opt into it.
You or your spouse may have other job benefits that affect your joint planning. If, for example, one of you is eligible for a pension, that's a factor in your retirement planning. In any case, there's paperwork to be done, like adding your spouse's name as a beneficiary.
As a couple, you need to hash out your expectations for day-to-day life, and month-to-month spending. Will you eat out often? Is an annual vacation necessary to your well-being? Would you rather sit on the floor than buy furniture on credit? You need to understand each other's priorities. And if you're wise, you'll craft a spending plan that formalizes those priorities, so you're not spending carelessly.
Your retirement benefits are an asset that each of you brings to the marriage. You need to know what each of you is contributing now, and make changes if necessary. If, for example, your partner has a better 401(k) matching plan, it could affect your joint savings decisions.
You're getting ready to share the rest of your life with another person. Make sure you share dreams and aspirations as well. The colorless phrase "financial goals" covers a host of expectations for your life ahead. But you can't reach those goals without a plan -- so start crafting it now.
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