Stock Market Today: Stocks Close Higher After Strong November Jobs Report

The unemployment rate ticked lower last month, while annual wage growth eased.

closeup of black stock chart with red and green bars
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Market participants weren't sure what to think of Friday's stronger-than-anticipated jobs report. Indeed, stocks traded in both positive and negative territory today as investors weighed the results against expectations for the Fed's timeline for potential interest rate cuts in 2024.   

The Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning said the U.S. added 199,000 new jobs in November, more than the 185,000 economists were expecting. Employment figures for September were revised lower while October's figure was unchanged. 

The November jobs report also showed the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% from the previous reading of 3.9%. Additionally, wage growth – a key measure of inflation – slowed in November, to 4.0% annually vs October's 4.1% increase.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

"The Fed should be encouraged by the continued, though slight, moderation in the year-over-year increase in wages and the bounce back up in the labor force participation rate," says Greg Wilensky, head of U.S. fixed income at Janus Henderson Investors. "However, the recent data will likely leave the Fed thinking that policy rates are unlikely to be cut as quickly in 2024 as the market has recently been pricing so it may be a case of 'higher than the market expects.'"

According to CME Group, futures traders are now pricing in a 44% chance for a quarter-point rate cut in March – down from 55% one day ago. The probability for one in May jumped to 50% from yesterday's reading of 42%.

Is Apple ramping up iPhone production in India?

In single-stock news, Apple (AAPL) rose 0.7% after a Wall Street Journal report indicated the tech giant and its suppliers are targeting annual production of more than 50 million iPhones in India by 2026. This new target will only represent about a quarter of total iPhone production, with the majority still occurring in China. 

Apple's efforts to diversify its supply chain come after the company "has faced challenges in China this year beyond trade tensions with the U.S., including the Chinese government instructing some officials not to use iPhones at work," the article says. Still, China remains a major market for Apple, accounting for nearly 17% of total sales in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Red-hot mortgage rates weigh on RH results

Elsewhere, RH (RH), the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware, fell 14.0% after the home goods retailer reported earnings. In its third quarter, the company swung to a per-share loss of 42 cents vs a year-ago profit of $4.26 per share. Revenue fell 14% to $751 million.

RH said mortgage rates that peaked above 8% in October created headwinds during the three-month period. "With 82% of homeowners having mortgages below 5%, and 62% below 4%, we continue to expect the existing housing market to remain frozen until interest rates and/or home prices fall meaningfully," CEO Gary Friedman wrote in the shareholder letter. As a result, the company narrowed its full-year guidance.

The new outlook suggests "revenue will fall by about 14% for fiscal 2024," says CFRA Research analyst Arun Sundaram (Hold). "Demand trends are expected to improve in the first half of calendar year 2024, driven by new product launches, improved in-stock levels, gallery resets, and of course, easier year-over-year comparisons." Potential rate cuts could also be a positive catalyst for the consumer discretionary stock, Sundaram adds.

As for the major indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4% to 36,247, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 4,604, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5% to 14,403. All three indexes extended their weekly win streaks to six.

Related content

Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.