Dow Rejoices Following Excellent Jobs Report
Mr. Market couldn't be happier this morning, as the S&P 500 and the Dow JonesIndustrial Average soar, riding high after a jobs report that shows an economy finally rising from the depths of the Great Recession. As of noon, the Dow had gained nearly 157 points, as fears of the Federal Reserve tapering its bond-buying program recede into the background.
A sea change for employment
The November jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a real gem, showing a drop to 7% in the national unemployment rate from the previous 7.3%. The 203,000 new jobs created last month were ahead of market expectations of 180,000, and the jobless rate was a nice surprise against the consensus of 7.2%.
Also, the labor force participation rate ticked upward by 0.2 percentage points, coming in at 63%, versus last month's 62.8% -- though it is still lower than September's rate of 63.2%.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan survey found a jump in consumer confidence to 82.5 for the first part of December, compared to the prior 75.1. This is the highest reading since July and blew past estimates of a mere 75.5. The expectations index was also up to 72.7, a six-point increase from the previous reading.
Everybody's a winner
There are really no losers on the Dow today, as every component is in shiny green territory less than an hour from noon. Both JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are riding the wave, despite concerns regarding the implementation of the Volcker rule, complete with its ban on portfolio trading. The tougher trading rules are expected to hit Goldman hardest, since it derives approximately 50% of its revenue from trading activity.
In other banking news, Citigroup and Wells Fargo have been charged with discriminatory mortgage lending practices in Los Angeles. The L.A. City Attorney's office yesterday sued the two banks for what it called "a continuous pattern" of discrimination in mortgage lending in the city "since at least 2004."
The lawsuit alleges that the onerous mortgage terms imposed on certain borrowers helped cause the foreclosure crisis in Los Angeles, costing the city millions in lost tax revenue. In July 2012, Wells Fargo settled another mortgage discrimination suit with the U.S. Department of Justice, in which it paid $175 million to resolve charges that it steered Hispanic and African-American borrowers into pricier subprime loans between 2004 and 2009.
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