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Saturday, December 4, 2010

WALL STREET : Stocks Continue Dec Climb With Late Session Rebound

S&P rises 3% on week; Nasdaq ends near 3-year high
Stocks kicked off the session on a sour note today, after the government's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report initially rained on the Street's recent parade. Bright and early, the Labor Department announced that only 39,000 jobs were added last month, falling painfully shy of economists' predictions for a gain of 155,000 positions. Furthermore, the unemployment rate spiked to a seven-month peak of 9.8% in November, from 9.6% in October. However, relatively positive reports on factory orders and the services sector, as well as lingering optimism from this week's flood of robust economic and retail readings, helped to limit the downside damage.

In fact, determined to end the week with a bang, the bulls staged an eleventh-hour coup, fueling all three major market indexes modestly north of breakeven by the bell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,382.09) spent most of the session wallowing in red ink, but a late-session bullish revolt helped the index to a gain of 19.7 points, or 0.2%, by the close. Seventeen of the Dow's 30 components finished higher, led by Bank of America's (BAC) 1.5% gain, with Cisco Systems (CSCO) pacing the 13 declining equities.

For the week, the blue chip barometer tacked on an impressive 2.6%, reclaiming its perch atop its 10-week moving average.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,224.71) also barreled into positive territory in the final minutes of trading, advancing 3.2 points, or 0.3%. For the week, the broad-market index fared the best of its peers, boasting a gain of nearly 3%.

Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,591.46) was the lone index to spend most of the session above the breakeven line, finishing 12.1 points, or 0.5%, higher. What's more, the tech-rich COMP tagged a new multi-year high of 2,593.67 just before the closing bell, bringing its weekly surplus to 2.2%.

Crude futures finished at a two-year peak,
capping off oil's best week in a month.

Crude futures soared to another two-year peak today, extending black gold's winning streak to three straight sessions. Bolstering oil prices was an ailing greenback, which made it easier for foreign-currency holders to scoop up the dollar-denominated commodity, as well as predictions for unseasonably cold weather across Europe and parts of the U.S. What's more, no fewer than four major banks lifted their long-term estimates for oil prices this week, with Goldman Sachs forecasting domestic crude futures to touch $100 a barrel next year. Against this backdrop, January-dated crude oil futures finished with a gain of $1.19, or 1.35%, at $89.19 per barrel – crude's highest settlement since Oct. 7, 2008. For the week, the front-month contract tacked on 6.5%, marking the best week-over-week gain since Nov. 5.


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