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Wall Street Green on Positive Jobs Report

- By Omar Venerio

U.S. stocks were in positive territory on Friday, driven by a strong report on the U.S. labor market. The economy gained 304,000 new jobs in January, which was more than expected. However, the unemployment rate rose to 4.0% from 3.9% in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.49% to 25,124, the S&P 500 index gained 0.19% to 2,709 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.01% to 7,282.


Shares of Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) jumped more than 3.5% on Friday morning after the company announced fourth-quarter results. Revenue grew 5.5% year over year to $11 billion, beating expectations by $50 million. Earnings were $1.04 per share, topping estimates by 1 cent.

"The fourth-quarter and full-year results further bolster our confidence in Merck's innovation-based strategy in which our key pillars -- oncology, vaccines, animal health, and select hospital and specialty care products -- are expected to drive sustainable growth over the long-term," Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier said.

During the quarter, Merck's flagship drug Keytruda, which is used to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer in adults), won approval from the Food and Drug Administration to treat three more patient groups, totaling 11 approvals for different cancer types. Further, the company is testing the injected drug in other cancer types.

Looking ahead to 2019, the company expects full-year GAAP earnings per share to range from $3.97 to $4.12; it projects non-GAAP earnings to be between $4.57 and $4.72 per share.

Gainers

  • Symantec Corp. (SYMC)
  • Aon PLC (AON)
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)
  • Hess Corp. (HES)
  • Micron Technology Inc. (MU)



Losers

  • Align Technology Inc. (ALGN)
  • Target Corp. (TGT)
  • Valero Energy Corp. (VLO)
  • Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M)



Global markets

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 swelled 0.59%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.60%, Germany's Dax declined 0.01% and Spain's IBEX 35 slid 0.46%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.07%, India's BSE Sensex advanced 0.59%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.04% and China's Shanghai Composite climbed 1.30%.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in any stocks mentioned.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.