Thursday, November 1, 2012
With the mood dour after a weak October, any form of decent economic news was set to push markets up, which is what happened Thursday. A series of economic reports came in slightly better than expected, helping to lift the S&P 500 1.1% and the NASDAQ 1.4%.
Among the flood of economic data (some of it released today due to the delays caused by Sandy):
- Payrolls processor ADP showed U.S. companies added 158,000 workers in October - the fastest pace in eight months.
- Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 363,000 last week.
- The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its index of factory activity rose last month to 51.7, up from September's reading of 51.5. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
- U.S. consumer confidence jumped in October to its highest (72.2) in more than four years, the Conference Board said.
- The Labor Department said that worker productivity increased at a modest 1.9% annual rate from July through September, matching the April-June quarter rate. Labor costs fell at a 0.1% rate after having risen at a 1.7% rate in the second quarter.
- Construction spending grew 0.6% compared to August when spending had fallen 0.1%, the Commerce Department said. The strength in September came from a 2.8% rise in home building. Spending on commercial projects fell 0.1% and spending on government projects was down 0.8%.
Oil added 85 cents to settle at $87.09 a barrel, while gold fell $3.60 to $1,715.50 an ounce. Silver fell $0.07 to $32.25.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.3%, the DAX in Germany increased 1% and France's CAC 40 added 1.4%.
The Shanghai Composite rallied 1.7%, while Japan's Nikkei rose 0.2%.
- China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's monthly purchasing managers index improved to 50.2 from September's 49.8; numbers above 50 indicate activity is expanding. Separately, HSBC Corp. said its own PMI improved to an eight-month high of 49.5 from September's 47.9