The November payrolls report showed the country added 211,000 jobs, which was better than the anticipated 200,000 jobs. The strong number almost assures that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month.
Following Thursday’s market rout, on Friday morning U.S. stocks were moving higher on the jobs report, which demonstrates the strength of the economy. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent, in line with the estimates.
The S&P 500 is higher by 6 points to 2,055, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is rising 49 points to 17,525 and the Nasdaq is gaining 7 points to trade near 5,045.
As reported, Avon is said to be in talks to sell its North American business to private equity firm Cerberus. It’s been a crazy week for the cosmetics brand. Earlier this week, a rumor that Oprah Winfrey was interested in the company sent shares flying, only for that to be denied by both parties. Then activist investor Barington Capital sent a letter to the board asking for a restructuring plan. Avon did not respond to the Cerberus reports but did issue a statement regarding Barington, saying it was taking steps to improve performance. Avon’s stock has dropped 57 percent year-to-date.
Gap Inc. stock is falling over 3 percent to $25.15 after the retailer reported declines in same-store sales for November. Sales at the namesake stores fell 4 percent, but dropped 19 percent at Banana Republic. Old Navy, which had been the silver lining in the chain, slid 9 percent. Gap stock has dropped over 38 percent year-to-date.
Macy’s stock is managing to stay flat following a ratings cut by Goldman Sachs. The analyst changed the rating from buy to neutral and cleaved the target price from $66 to $42. Goldman said that Macy’s strategic actions were “not enough” and that the value from a REIT was more limited than originally thought.
Genesco delivered third-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations, but the retailer lowered the full-year outlook. Genesco, which operates Lids and sells wholesale footwear under the Johnston & Murphy brand plus the licensed Dockers brand, reported earnings per share of $1.40, which topped the FactSet estimate of $1.30. Net sales for the third quarter were $774 million, 2 percent better than the estimate of $759 million. The stock is up 7 percent to trade near $55.92.
Elsewhere, OPEC is meeting in Vienna and many investors expected the oil cartel to cut oil production to drive prices higher. Instead, OPEC has agreed to a new ceiling of 31.5 million barrels a day, which is an increase. As a result, oil prices are plunging, gold is rising and the Russian ruble is getting dumped.
Markets in Asia-Pacific closed mostly lower for the week. China’s Shanghai Index had the biggest drop, losing 1.7 percent without any government buying to support stocks.
Europe’s markets were mixed. The German DAX continues to trade lower even though factory orders data was higher than expected. The French CAC climbed 0.1 percent with a strong showing from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.