Oct 4 - Summary of business headlines: Dow posts strongest point gain in a month; Zygna warns, Facebook hits 1 billion users; Google shares set record high. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Stocks rallied out of the gate but cautious eyes are on Friday's jobs report. Blue chips had their best rally in about a month and gains were spread across the board. On the jobs front: jobless claims rose a little last week after a big drop the week before, suggesting a mild improvement in the labor market. Sticking with the economy, sales at retail stores opened at least a year were solid in September, but not overly strong. Shoppers seemed to shy away from big purchases, saving cash for the Christmas holiday. On the corporate front: Zygna warns of a big loss in the third quarter, while cutting its forecast for the year. It is blaming launch delays and poor reception of its newer games. Facebook hits 1 billion active users, but the stock is stuck far below its debut price, as members move to mobile. Reuters Columnist John Abell: SOUNDBITE: JOHN ABELL, COLUMNIST, REUTERS MEDIA FILE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They have to figure out, Facebook does, how to sell ads or monetize their members who are of their own volition and desires going to these tiny little screens. I don't know how they do that, at again, at the level that which will justify what they believe and have convinced a lot of investors they should be worth." Google - not having that trouble. Shares climbing to a record close just over $768. Minutes from the Federal Reserve's September meeting show policymakers mostly agreed with the launch of a third round of asset purchases aimed at boosting the economy. Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said his plan to buy bonds of troubled euro zone countries need not be punitive. But investors barely budged - leaving markets little changed in both directions. Conway Gittens, Reuters