After Market: Employment Optimism Lifts Stocks to a Positive Week

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Stocks rallied for a second straight day on Friday, despite a disappointing report on job growth. The closely watched January jobs report was tepid at best, but many analysts attribute that to the horrible weather last month, and not fundamental weakness in the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 165 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 23 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) jumped 68 points. The two days of gains were enough to offset previous loses, allowing markets to close in positive territory for the week.

A lot of the day's action was in big-name Nasdaq stocks. Apple (AAPL) gained 1.5 percent. CEO Tim Cook said the company has repurchased $14 billion worth of stock since share prices fell in the wake of the disappointing earnings report it issued two weeks ago. Google (GOOG) gained 1.5 percent on news that it bought a 6 percent stake in the fast-growing Chinese tech-giant Lenovo. Twitter (TWTR) rose 8.5 percent, bouncing back from a big sell-off on Thursday that followed its disappointing earnings report.

Netflix (NFLX) rose 5 percent, Facebook (FB) gained 3.5 percent and Tesla (TSLA) rose 4.5 percent. Expedia (EXPE) rose 14 percent after reporting strong revenue growth. Rival TripAdvisor (TRIP) rose 9 percent and Priceline (PCLN) gained 5 percent.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) stayed hot, gaining another 5 percent. Investors love its deal with Coke (KO) to make and distribute single-serving pods to brew in-home cold drinks. The stock is has risen by 132 percent in the past year.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) jumped 14 percent. It now has nearly 8 million users for its "World of Warcraft" video game. Outerwall (OUTR), which operates Redbox kiosks and Coinstar machines, rose 12 percent. It posted strong earnings and named a new top executive at Redbox. Athenahealth (ATHN) jumped 25 percent on better than expected earnings.

Bucking the upward trend, LinkedIn (LNKD) slid 6.5 percent as the professional social network issued a disappointing earnings outlook.

On the New York Stock Exchanges, defense stocks posted strong gains. Boeing (BA) and General Dyanmics (GD) both jumped 3 percent, while Lockheed Martin (LMT) gained 2 percent.

But insurance giant Cigna (CI) fell 9 percent after an earnings miss and a weak forecast.

What to Watch Monday:

These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
  • Hasbro (HAS)
  • Loews (L)
  • Masco (MAS)
  • Wausau Paper (WPP)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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