Stocks have held onto their early gains in midday trading as the unemployment rate surprisingly fell to 8.6% and rumors swirl about the IMF playing a bigger role in Europe’s debt crisis. The drop in the unemployment rate to 8.6% made it the lowest it has been in more than two years. It is being rumored that the IMF will give the ECB as much as $270 billion.
The November Jobs report showed the economy created a net of 120,000 with 140,000 coming from the private sector. The jobs number themselves were slightly below expectations, but the big headline was the lowering of the unemployment rate to 8.6%. “The market focuses on headlines, and if you include the prior two months being revised up, and you think about the three months together, there was more employment than expected,” said Peter Boockvar, market strategist at Miller Tabak.
“Underneath the hood, it’s still sluggish job growth,” he added. “We’re only averaging 132,000 jobs this year and seeing the biggest drop in the labor force since January, and the participation rate at near record lows.”
The stock market spiked this morning on these headlines, but has since given up some of those gains. The Dow which was up over 100 points at one point, is up 51 points, the Nasdaq is up 15 points and the S&P is up 7 points.
Stocks to watch for the latter half of the day include Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Targa Resources Corp. (NYSE:TRGP), Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) and Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS)
Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) is up 3.89% at $5.74 in midday trading. BAC has traded 178 million shares so far today and is on track to exceed its daily average of 271 million shares. BAC has rallied the past three trading sessions after falling nearly under $5 on Tuesday. Bank of America has a current market cap of 58.28 billion.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is up 8.54% at $33.06 in midday trading. JPM has traded 59.4 million shares so far today, above its daily average volume of 46.5 million shares. JPM hit an intraday high of $33.27 earlier in the trading day. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a current market cap of 124.53 billion
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is up 4.06% today at $11.02 with an intraday high of $11.10. F has traded 42 million shares in midday trading and trades 62.8 million shares a day on average. F has jumped more than $1 a share in the past two trading sessions. The company has a current market cap of 41.80 billion.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is up 7.82% at $15.65 with an intraday high of $15.90 in midday trading. MS has traded 33.4 million shares so far today and is just 2 million shares shy of hitting its daily average volume. Banking stocks all rose today after the positive employment report and on Europe hopes. Morgan Stanley has a current market cap of 30.08 billion.
Targa Resources Corp. (NYSE:TRGP) is up 6.41% at $37.49 and was as high as $37.72 in midday trading. TRGP has traded 953 thousand shares so far today, nearly 5 times its daily average volume. Targa Resources announced management changes as well as updated their distribution outlook on Dec. 1. TRGP stock has jumped more than $4 a share over the past three trading sessions. The company has a current market cap of 1.59 billion.
Dish Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) is up 5% at $25.81 with an intraday high of $26.45 in midday trading. DISH has traded 10.5 million shares so far today, triple its daily average volume. DISH stock is up nearly $2 on the week. The company has a current market cap of 11.52 billion.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) is up 11.58% at $16.28 with an intraday high of $17.06. BKS has traded 1.9 million shares so far today, 500 thousand more shares than its trades a day on average. BKS is rebounding today after dipping from $17 to below $14 a one point yesterday. Barnes & Noble has a current market cap of 943.47 million.