Closing Bell: Jobs Report Sparks Big Rally; Walmart Holds Its Own Rally
The Dow Industrials gained 207 points, its second-biggest advance of the year. The Nasdaq Composite rose 45 points, and the S&P 500 added 20, pushing all three major averages back into positive territory for the week.
Shares of Walmart finished 1 percent higher. The world's biggest retailer held its annual shareholders' meeting, and announced a $15 billion stock buyback. That news outweighed the effects of protests by some workers and shareholders about Walmart's wages, factory safety, and the alleged bribery of officials in Mexico and other countries.
Today's big rally was sparked by the Labor Department's employment report, which showed the U.S. economy created 175,000 jobs in May. That was a bit better than most economists predicted, but the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent as more Americans came off the sidelines and started looking for work again.
Many analysts said the report was in the "Goldilocks zone": Not too hot, and not too cold. They're tracking the economic data, looking for hints about when the Federal Reserve may begin to taper off its quantitative easing program.
The financial sector had the most dramatic reaction to the news. Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) surged more than 6 percent, while Goldman Sachs (GS) jumped 4 percent. Citigroup (C) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) followed close behind, with gains of about 1.5 percent each.
But bank stocks were far from the only winners. Today's rally was broad-based -- just four of the 30 names on the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in the minus column. American Express (AXP) and Boeing (BA) helped set the pace, both advancing to new 52-week highs.
The technology sector also showed some strength this afternoon. Amazon (AMZN) jumped more than 3 percent, after saying that it will start selling its Kindle tablets in China.
Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) all finished higher as well. The Internet companies denied a Washington Post report that claimed they had given the National Security Agency direct access to their servers.
Apple will be back in the news on Monday, when the company kicks off its annual Worldwide Developers' Conference.
-Produced by Andy Myers