After Market: Stocks Make Best Gains of the Year on Improving Job Market

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This was the best day so far of what's been a lousy year for investors. Jobless claims came down last week and expectation is rising for an upbeat report Friday morning on job creation.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 188 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 21 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 45 points.

Even though this was a big up day, let's start with the big loser. Twitter (TWTR) tumbled 24 percent as investors were stunned by the slowing pace of user growth for the short-message service.
Twitter went public in November, doubled in price right out of the gate, and nearly tripled within a few weeks. But it's now given most of that back.

But today was about market fizz and Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR) had plenty of that. It soared 26 percent after signing a deal with Coca-Cola (KO) to market an in-home system of single serve cold beverages.

At first, SodaStream International (SODA) lost steam because of the competitive threat to its home carbonation systems. But then rumors surfaced that PepsiCo (PEP) might be interested in SodaStream, and it's stock rose 7 percent.

On the earnings front, Walt Disney (DIS) jumped nearly 5 percent. Its net surged, led by a strong performance at its ESPN unit and the box-office success of the movie "Frozen."

Also beating expectations:
  • Akamai Technologies (AKAM), up 20 percent.
  • Yelp (YELP), gained 19 percent.
  • O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), rose 9 percent.
  • Dunkin' Brands Group (DNKN), advanced 3 percent on strong sales of its breakfast sandwiches.
  • Sony (SNE) rose 4 percent despite forecasting a huge loss. Investors focused instead on the sale of its Vaio PC unit.
On the downside:
  • The music service Pandora Media (P) fell 10 percent.
  • Spirit AeroSystems Holdings (SPR) tumbled 20 percent after missing on earnings and issuing a weak outlook.
  • Montage Technology (MONT) slid 18 percent. Seeking Alpha claims the semiconductor company is grossly overstating its revenue.
Finally, it was a good day for some retailers after reporting sales for January. Costco (COST), Gap (GPS), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), L Brands (LB) and Kohl's (KSS) all posted strong gains.

What to Watch Friday:
  • The Labor Department releases employment data for January at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for December at 3 p.m.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
  • Cigna (CI)
  • Moody's (MCO)
  • Wyndham Worldwide (WYN)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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