Stocks hit record levels on Friday as traders shook off a disappointing print on job creation in November.
Each of the three major indices reached closing record highs, with the S&P 500’s gains led by energy and financials stocks as a cyclical rotation remained intact. A day earlier, the blue-chip index was pressured after the Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer (PFE) was contending with supply-chain issues that would impact this year’s deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine. The drug-maker, along with its German partner BioNTech (BNTX), plans to ship 50 million vaccines by year-end, as opposed to the 100 million it previously expected. It still anticipates handing over more than 1 billion doses in 2021, however, and Bloomberg reported on Friday that the company was closing in on hitting its vaccine target for this year.
Economic data took center stage for traders on Friday, with the U.S. Labor Department’s November jobs reflecting the slowest pace of job growth since April’s record virus-induced drop in employment. Non-farm payrolls grew by just 245,000, sharply missing the 460,000 expected. This deceleration came as COVID-19 cases spiked to record levels last month and new business restrictions came into play. Still, other recent jobs data has surprised to the upside: Thursday’s weekly new jobless claims report showed the first drop in new unemployment claims in three weeks.
As traders and economists look ahead to a brighter 2021, strategists have begun to consider which stocks and sectors might pull ahead in a post-virus economy. Many believe the trends seen in November and early December – with cyclical and value names that had been hardest hit earlier on by the pandemic outperforming – will extend into next year.
“As you move into 2021, there will be broader economic growth, it will be more inclusive, you will see continued fiscal stimulus – I do believe we will get a package. You’ll see the Fed continue. You have pent-up demand,” Brent Schutte, Northwestern Mutual chief investment strategist, told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “In 2021, you have a market that will move higher, but with different leadership that reflects more broad economy growth. Think the rotation that we’ve been talking about … it’s under way right now and it will continue into 2021. Think value, think small-cap, think emerging markets.”
4:01 p.m. ET: Stocks set fresh record highs as traders shake off disappointing jobs report
Here’s where the three major indices ended Friday’s session:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +32.41 points (+0.88%) to 3,699.13
Dow (^DJI): +248.25 points (+0.83%) to 30,217.77
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +87.05 points (+0.7%) to 12,464.23
2:37 p.m. ET: Crude oil prices settle higher after OPEC+ says it will ramp production gradually
U.S. West Texas intermediate crude oil futures for January delivery (CL=F) rose 1.4%, or $0.62, to settle at $46.26 per barrel on Friday, bringing its weekly advance to about 1.6%.
The rise came after OPEC and its allies agreed on Thursday to start phasing in production increases in small increments, or by 500,000 barrels per day starting in January. The oil-producing group had slashed output by nearly 8 million barrels per day this year amid a drought in energy demand during the pandemic.
11:21 a.m. ET: Employment trends in the November jobs report point to more business moving online, economists say
The disappointing November jobs report reflected weakening growth in employment at in-person businesses as a greater proportion of shopping and business activity turned online during the pandemic, a number of economists pointed out.
“Today's report further confirmed the shift in holiday shopping to online from brick and mortar stores,” Bank of America economists said in a note Friday morning. “Retail trade employment declined 35k while transportation and warehousing payrolls surged by 145k in November. This is consistent with press reports of record online sales but foot traffic down nearly half of normal in the early holiday shopping season.”
Leisure and hospitality industries added a smaller number of jobs on net in November than in each of the last three months, and restaurant employment specifically dropped for the first time since April.
“Similar slowdowns were seen in areas like professional and business services, and in retail trade where payrolls fell by nearly 35,000, principally owing to ‘less seasonal hiring in several retail industries,’” Morgan Stanley economists led by Robert Rosener said in a note.
10:00 a.m. ET: Factory orders rise more than expected in October as manufacturing recovery continues
Orders for U.S. manufactured goods increased by 1.0% in October after an upwardly revised 1.3% gain in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday morning. This topped expectations for a rise of 0.8%, according to consensus economists polled by Bloomberg.
This marked the sixth straight month that factory orders increased in the U.S., as the manufacturing sector rebounded amid recovering capital spending by companies. And even excluding transportation orders, factory orders still rose 1.0% during the month, accelerating from a 0.9% gain in September.
9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher despite disappointing payrolls print
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:30 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +8.29 points (+0.23%) to 3,675.01
Dow (^DJI): +72.04 points (+0.24%) to 30,041.56
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +12.3 points (+0.11%) to 12,391.90
Crude (CL=F): +$0.10 (+0.22%) to $45.74 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$6.90 (+0.37%) to $1,848.00 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +4 bps to yield 0.961%
8:30 a.m. ET: November jobs creation slows sharply, but stocks hold gains
The economy created fewer jobs than expected in November, with payrolls checking in at 245,000 — below Wall Street estimates of 460,000 — underscoring how the surge in COVID-19 infections is tripping up growth and business activity. However, the unemployment rate tumbled to 6.7%.
Markets are taking the news in stride, as vaccine hopes continue to fuel the bull market. Futures are pointing to a higher open, with benchmarks poised to set new records.
7:21 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures point higher, Dow futures gain 100+ points
Contracts on the three major indices headed higher Friday morning. Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:21 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,674.75, up 10.75 points or 0.28%
Dow futures (YM=F): 30,040.00, up 108 points or 0.36%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,504.25, up 42 points or 0.34%
Crude (CL=F): +$0.53 (+1.16%) to $46.17 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$4.40 (+0.24%) to $1,845.50 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1 bp to yield 0.931%
6:03 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures tick up as overnight trading kicks off
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:03 p.m. ET Thursday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,666.25, up 1.75 points or 0.05%
Dow futures (YM=F): 29,940.00, up 8 points or 0.03%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,478.00, up 15.75 points or 0.13%