Equities were strong today, crossing Dow 14,000 for the first time in several years. Investors deriving optimism from an upward revision in November payroll payroll jobs. Previously reported up 161,000, the new number suggests 247,000 jobs were added. As for this morning's unemployment rate, that increased to 7.9% in January, from 7.8% in the prior month. That was slightly more than expected, with most analysts expecting 7.7%. But investors shrugging that off for now.
Also boosting sentiment on Wall Street, a strong auto sales number for the month of December. That data was helped by replacement purchases of cars following Hurricane Sandy. Consumer sentiment has picked up a bit in the last two weeks and construction spending posted a healthy gain in December, jumping .9%, following a .1% gain in November.
Among leaders on the Dow, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), up 3-1/2%, United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) and Verizon (NYSE:V). One stock not participating in the rally - Merck (NYSE:MRK). The drug maker cautioned that 2013 would be challenging. It also announced a delay in seeking approval for its osteoporosis drug.
At the close, the Dow was up 1.08%, just reaching that psychologically significant 14,000 level. The S&P and Nasdaq also posted gains just over 1%.
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