US shares hit record highs as data showed firms added fewer personnel than projected while the unemployment rate sank to a six-year low, in line with speculation that the economy has not been adversely affected by a global lull.
Energy shares soared as Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc and Newfield Exploration Co. rose more than 3%. Sears Holdings Corp. jumped 31% on plans to consider the sale and leaseback of 200 to 300 shops. Walt Disney Co. declined 2.2% after it said profit dropped at TV networks. Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd plunged 34% after its chief financial officer quit.
In New York, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose less than 0.1% to 2,031.92 at 4 pm. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 19.46 points, or 0.1% to 17, 573.93. Both indexes closed at record highs. The Nasdaq Composite Index went down 0.1%.
“We’re moving toward pause mode and a period of digestion following the rally of the past few weeks. “The market rallied in expectation of a generally positive employment report, which occurred with non-farm payrolls over 200, 000,” Bloomberg quoted chief stock strategist Terry Sandven of US Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis as saying.
Although payrolls increases surpassed 200,000 for the ninth month in a row in October, the 214,000 surge was lower than the 235,000 economists had forecast. The figure follows a 256,000 rise the previous month that exceeded estimates, according to figures released on Friday by the Labor Department.
The unemployment rate dropped to 5.8%, as more people got hired, bolstering the proportion of working people to the highest in five years. Solid hiring rates indicate that employers are optimistic that domestic demand will survive struggling overseas economies.
According to ABC, Humana descended 7% after its quarterly results fell below projections. The firm said the drastic drop in earnings occurred following spending on healthcare exchanges and expensive prescription drugs.
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