Thursday, June 5, 2008

Favorable job report lifts stocks

A favorable job report lifted stocks. Dow is up 140, advancers ahead of decliners almost 3-1 & NAZ was up 34. The Labor Dept reported applications for unemployment benefits fell 18K to 357K last week, a better than expected showing. However the 4 week average for people receiving unemployment benefits remains at the highest level in 4 years. The home foreclosure rate remains gloomy. The proportion of mortgages which were foreclosed in Q1 rose to .99%, up from .83% in the prior year. The delinquency rate jumped to 6.35% in Q1, versus 5.82% in the prior year. Both rates were the highest since 1979. Retailers reported May sales above expectations although discounters still had the best performances. 13 beat expectations & 7 missed. Wal-Mart had a 4% gain for same store sales while Target (TGT) which is more upscale suffered a 0.7% decline in same store sales. Retail sales were helped by tax rebates reaching consumers in May. Oil came back rising over 1 getting it above 123.

Verizon Wireless will buy Alltel for 28B. Verizon Wireless is 55% owned by Verizon (VZ), a Dow stock & up 1.96, while Alltel was bought by TGP Capital 7 months ago. Big stock purchases help bring out buyers for all stocks. Not too much should be read into today's rally while Dow is still sloshing around 12½K.

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