stocks

Stock Market Today: What Lousy Job Numbers? Major Indices Shoot to New Highs

Hope springs eternal for federal COVID stimulus, helping stocks rewrite the record book Friday despite a drab November payrolls report.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered a doozy of a nonfarm payrolls report Friday.

The good news: The unemployment rate dipped to 6.7% in November from 6.9%. The bad news? The U.S. added just 245,000 jobs last month – substantially lower than economists' expectations and a clear slowdown from October's revised 610,000 additions.

"It's not surprising to see a one-month pause in the rapid pace of payroll gains we have seen, with slower hiring due to temporary COVID-related reductions in activity, even if the actions fall short of the dramatic springtime lockdowns," says Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income.

Some on Wall Street were a little more pointed in translating the payroll numbers, however.

"This is a disappointing report, and one that shows the third wave of the pandemic is having a bigger effect on hiring than had been thought, says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. "This is a wake-up call for Congress and should support more federal stimulus."

Capitol Hill appears to be listening. Today it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighing in, saying "there is momentum" toward a COVID-19 relief bill as the clock winds down on 2020.

Wall Street clearly put more (ahem) stock in Washington negotiations than slowing employment gains, as investors drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.8% to 30,218) to fresh-all time highs, led by Caterpillar (CAT, +4.3%), Chevron (CVX, +3.9%) and International Business Machines (IBM, +2.9%).

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 advanced 0.9% to hit a new high of 3,699.
  • The Nasdaq Composite broke through the ceiling, too, gaining 0.7% to 12,464.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 reached a new peak with a 2.4% jump to 1,892.
  • Gold futures slipped a mere 0.1%, finishing at $1,840 per ounce.
  • U.S. crude oil futures improved by 0.3% to settle at $45.87 per barrel.

What Are Wall Street's Biggest Investors Buying?

We've written at various points about a "great rotation" into value stocks, and how it's expected to continue when COVID vaccines advance past the trial stages.

You're also starting to see signs of that in so-called smart money stock transactions – though in several cases, hedge funds and other billionaires are sticking with highfliers from earlier in the year.

Recently, influential investors such as Warren Buffett released new info about their latest trades, and we delved into many of the stocks these institutional investors were unloading. Now, we're digging into some of their highest-conviction positions.

Read on as we show you some of the billionaires' top stock picks for the third quarter. In some cases, the smart money added on to already large existing positions. In others, they made a statement by pushing a pile of money into new stakes.

Most Popular

The Wrong Way to Achieve Wealth
personal finance

The Wrong Way to Achieve Wealth

For some down-to-earth, basic advice on money and life, I have a book to recommend: “Your Total Wealth: The Heart and Soul of Financial Literacy.”
April 17, 2021
The Perfect Storm for Retirees
retirement planning

The Perfect Storm for Retirees

Today’s retirees could face a perfect storm because they are living longer and spending more time in retirement, while at the same time losing access …
April 18, 2021
Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs
Coronavirus and Your Money

Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs

People have lots of questions about the new $3,000 or $3,600 child tax credit and the advance payments that the IRS will send to most families in 2021…
April 14, 2021

Recommended

Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar
stocks

Kiplinger's Weekly Earnings Calendar

Check out our earnings calendar for the upcoming week, as well as our previews of the more noteworthy reports.
April 18, 2021
Dow, S&P 500 Hit New Highs as Earnings Impress
Stock Market Today

Dow, S&P 500 Hit New Highs as Earnings Impress

A slew of better-than-expected financial-sector earnings helped keep the market's momentum going Friday.
April 16, 2021
Stock Market Today 4/15/21: Dow Clears 34K, Nasdaq Tops 14K as Recovery Accelerates
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today 4/15/21: Dow Clears 34K, Nasdaq Tops 14K as Recovery Accelerates

A steep decline in unemployment claims and better-than-expected retail sales provided fresh evidence of an economic recovery and triggered a broad ral…
April 15, 2021
Stock Market Today 4/14/21: Strong Start to Earnings Season Sends Dow Higher
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today 4/14/21: Strong Start to Earnings Season Sends Dow Higher

Goldman Sachs' (GS) record Q1 and a strong day for Chevron (CVX) helped keep the Dow in positive territory on an otherwise choppy Wednesday.
April 14, 2021