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Jobs Report Sparks Rebound as Unemployment Hits Five-Year Low

Tickers in this article: ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets traded higher Friday as unemployment sunk to a five-year low and improved consumer spending bolstered confidence the market will be able to weather an early Federal Reserve tapering.
    • The S&P 500 was gaining 0.92% to 1,801.43 - breaking a five day losing streak - while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.94% to 15,970.30. The Nasdaq was 0.48% higher at 4,052.37.
    • Around 203,000 jobs were created in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's up from a revised 200,000 in October and better than the consensus 180,000 estimate coming from a Thomson Reuters poll of economists. The jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7% from 7.3% versus the expectation for a dip to 7.2%.
Here's the unemployment picture over the last decade:
  • Personal spending gained 0.3% in October, better than the consensus 0.2%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income was down 0.1% in October, which was below the estimate of 0.3%.
  • "The increase in November's non-farm payrolls, along with the drop in the unemployment rate to a five-year low of 7.0%, gives the Fed all the evidence it needs to begin tapering its asset purchases at the next FOMC meeting later this month," Paul Ashworth, Capital Economics chief US economist told clients in a note this morning. 
  • In stock news, Intel was gaining 2.8% after Citigroup advised investors to buy the stock on stabilizing corporate PC demand. Sears  was 2% higher after announcing it will spin off its Lands' End mail order business while Rite Aid added 5.8% after November sales beat estimates. 
  • December consumer confidence rose more than expected to its highest level in five months. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary December consumer sentiment index notched 82.5 from 75.1 in November. Fed speakers scheduled to make public appearances Friday include Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans at 10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m respectively.
  • Germany's DAX was up 0.88% while London's FTSE was gaining 0.82%. The Hang Seng closed up 0.13% while the Nikkei finished 0.81% higher.

--Written by Jane Searle in New York