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Banking Stocks jump on solid jobs report; energy sector falls

Stocks jump on solid jobs report; energy sector falls

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing Friday after the U.S. government reported another month of strong job gains. That helped the market bounce back from a sharp drop the day before.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 247 points, or 1.4 percent, to 17,724 as of 12:14 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 25 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,074. The Nasdaq composite increased 68 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,105.

HIGHER HIRING: The Labor Department said employers added 211,000 jobs in November, with big gains in the construction and retail industries. Hiring remains robust, and the U.S. economy continues to benefit from steady consumer spending even though manufacturers are feeling pain from low oil prices and weak demand overseas.

Investors expect the Fed to raise interest rates at its December meeting, and a poor jobs report appeared to be the only thing that could have prevented it from doing so. The survey came in a bit stronger than analysts expected, and the government also said more people were hired in September and October than it had initially reported.

THE QUOTE: Luke Bartholomew, investment manager Aberdeen Capital Management, said it was almost a foregone conclusion that the Fed will raise interest rates in December. What’s less clear is what will happen after that.

“It would have taken a really catastrophically bad number to put the Fed off today,” he said. “It’s a question of what the path looks like next year.”

OIL: The price of oil declined as a meeting of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries ended. OPEC decided not to cut oil production in order to raise prices. Instead, it will keep production steady in order to maintain its market share. Oil prices tumbled at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, just as the meeting concluded.

U.S. crude fell 93 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $40.15 a barrel in New York. It took bigger losses earlier in the day. Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international oils, slid 58 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $43.26.

The price of oil is trading near six-year lows. Global stockpiles have grown as production increased and demand slumped.

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas prices were holding steady Friday, but companies that drill for natural gas were pummeled. Stephen Schork, an independent analyst and trader, said that’s because weather throughout much of the U.S. remains warm, meaning Americans aren’t using as much energy to heat their homes.

“The market is giving up on winter,” he said. “Here in the East… there’s just no demand.”

Southwestern Energy shed 37 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $7.82. Range Resources lost $1.07, or 3.8 percent, to $27.09. Chesapeake Energy declined 21 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $4.66.

ENERGY STOCKS: Nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors rose. Energy was the only industry to fall. Among individual stocks, Hess gave up $1.27, or 2.3 percent, to $54.29. Murphy Oil lost $1.06, or 4 percent, to $25.25. Helmerich & Payne fell $2.01, or 3.6 percent, to $53.60.

CALLING FOR AVON: Avon Products surged as multiple media reports said the beauty products company is considering selling its North American business to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. Avon jumped 32 cents, or 8 percent, to $4.31.

HIT THE BRAKES: Norfolk Southern fell after the railroad rejected a $28.4 billion offer from Canadian Pacific. Norfolk Southern said the offer was too low and that regulators probably wouldn’t approve it. Its stock lost $1.12, or 1.2 percent, to $91.99.

BOUNCING BACK: Stocks plunged Thursday after investors were disappointed by the European Central Bank stimulus plans. The ECB will cut a key interest rate less than expected and it won’t increase its monthly bond purchases.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: The dollar clawed back some ground against the euro following the jobs data. The euro slipped to $1.0885 from $1.0975, and the dollar rose to 123.12 yen from 122.31 yen Thursday. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.30 percent from 2.32 percent.

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