Stocks started the month of February with an uptick on a strong jobs report but then faded into the close as the Dow gained 26 to finish at 19,890 on heavier trading volume. The Federal Reserve finished its two day meeting and left interest rates unchanged as expected. They did express optimism however and Fed Chair Janet Yellen said “Measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late,".
Payroll processing company ADP and Moody’s Analytics posted their monthly private payroll survey showing a surprising jump in new workers of 246,000. The gurus had predicted a reading of 165,000 making the difference a huge gap and the biggest jump since last June. Our old friend, Peter Boockvar, was encouraged about the report because it revealed hiring gains in construction, manufacturing and goods-producing companies outpacing gains in service jobs. The markets liked the report as well.
Apple reported a blowout quarter and once again became the top seller of smart phones. Shares hit an 18 month high after the company reported a 3% revenue gain and a 2% net income gain. Both metrics handily beat estimates. Strength in domestic iPhone sales and services like iTunes offset a 12% drop in Chinese sales. Going forward the company issued mild guidance. Apple’s cash hoard is now at $246 Billion. The company is closer to finishing its amazing “spaceship” headquarters in sunny and wet California. Check it out on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvkh5udzKds.