Markets edged past concerns arising out of mixed employment data and closed with modest gains. The S&P 500 recorded its best week for the past 9 weeks and markets closed at their best in 2 months.A moderately improving economy and modest corporate earnings inspired the indices. But lower volumes, lesser advancing shares and Egyptian concerns continued to weigh on the minds of investors.
Jobs data brought little cheer but investors remained unaffected by the tepid report. According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell to 9% in January from December’s 9.4%. This is the lowest rate since April 2009 and below economists’ expectation of a rise to 9.5%. Further, with only 36,000 new jobs added during the period, job creation touched a 4 month-low.
On Friday, the Dow ended at 12,092, up 0.25% to another two and a half year high. For the week, the Dow was up 2.3%. The S&P 500 rose 0.29% and closed at 1310. The S&P was up 2.7% for the week. The Nasdaq was up 0.56% to finish at 2769 and registered a weekly gain of 3%. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell 4.55% to 15.93, an indication that apprehensions about the markets were somewhat subsiding. On the New York Stock Exchange, the breadth of the market was almost equally distributed among advancers and decliners with consolidated volumes of 4 billion shares.
Coming to earnings and estimates news, shares of JDS Uniphase Corporation (NASDAQ:JDSU), a telecom and cable equipment maker, surged 26.9% and closed at $22.76 after the company’s quarterly results exceeded analysts’ expectations. Aviat Networks Inc. (NASDAQ:AVNW) rose 19.4% after the company reported better-than-expected second quarter results and the share closed at a nine month high of $6.23. Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) rose 5.7% after its quarterly profits increased by 86% because of rising prices of beef and pork. Shares of Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) jumped 12.5% after the health insurer forecasted 2011 profits above the Street expectations and also increased its dividends. Scientific instrument maker FEI Company (NSADAQ: FEIC) was up 15.9% after the company forecasted a bullish first quarter. Sirona Dental Systems Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SIRO) shares gained 10.5% after the dental-equipment maker guided its 2011 revenue forecast upward. Shares that ended on the losing side due to weaker-than-expected results include Coinstar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSTR) which lost 11.9% after the company’s dismal fourth quarter results. Power One Inc. (NASDAQ:PWER) slumped 21.2% after the power conversion products maker projected weak first quarter revenues.