Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Goldilocks Jobs Report Brings Out the Bulls

Stocks gained ground in reaction to the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls update for May.

Today's trading was a mirror image to yesterday's session, with indexes rising on what some are calling a "Goldilocks" jobs report (not too hot to spark inflation fears, not too cold to chill economic growth).

Data from the Labor Department showed the U.S. added a lower-than-anticipated 559,000 nonfarm payrolls in May – more than double April's number. 

Both the labor participation rate, which tracks those actively looking for work, and the unemployment rate fell slightly from last month's readings (to 61.6% from 61.7% and to 5.8% from 6.1%, respectively) – though the latter is likely a result of less people seeking employment.

"Bottom line, the report does very little to settle the overarching debate regarding the recovery and the associated Fed policy, but it does showcase the continued demand for labor," says Alan McKnight, chief investment officer of Regions Private Wealth Management.

"Without settlement of the debate, equity markets can continue to move higher with a backdrop of sustained fiscal and monetary support." 

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And that's exactly what they did, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.5% to 34,756, and the S&P 500 Index gaining 0.9% to 4,229.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Russell 2000 small-cap index edged up 0.3% to close at 2,286.
  • Facebook (FB, +1.3%) today said former U.S. President Donald Trump will not be able to access the social media platform until January 2023, at the earliest. The company initially suspended Trump's account in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot, saying he incited violence. 
  • DocuSign (DOCU,+19.8%) was a big mover on earnings. The electronic signature specialist reported a larger-than-anticipated adjusted profit of 44 cents per share in its first quarter, while revenues of $469.1 million also topped estimates.
  • U.S. crude oil futures rose 1.2% to settle at $69.62 per barrel.
  • Gold futures added 1% to end at $1,892.00 an ounce.
  • The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) fell 9.0% to 16.42.
  • Bitcoin prices slumped 4.6% to $36,852. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock price chart 060421

YCharts

How to Prepare for Massive Machine Learning Growth

For all the struggles the Nasdaq has had lately (down 2.3% since its April 26 peak), it had its day in the sun today, rising 1.5% to 13,814, handily outperforming its blue-chip peers.

One notable gainer on the tech-heavy index was Alphabet (GOOGL, +2.0%), which rose alongside the other FAANG stocks.

Canaccord Genuity analysts are targeting even more upside for GOOGL over the next 12 months or so, with a $2,800 price target for the stock – a roughly 17% premium to current levels – in part on expectations for strong revenue growth from digital advertising. "This dynamic, coupled with robust profitability and reasonable valuations, should make [GOOGL] appealing to large-cap investors."

Another tailwind for the tech giant: its investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). According to International Data Corporation (IDC), global revenues for AI technologies are expected to top $554 billion by 2025 -- welcome news for Alphabet and this batch of machine learning stocks. Read on as we look at five ML stocks that could benefit from substantial growth in the global AI market.

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