Feb. 6 - Summary: Wall Street had its strongest one day rally of the year as a drop in jobless claims and Disney's results a day earlier boosted confidence ahead of Friday's key jobs data. LinkedIn's guidance disappoints. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The stock market typically does not soar the day before the all-important jobs report - but Thursday was unique. It was the best day of the year for the Dow and the S&P 500, with broad gains of more than one percent. Hopes of an improving labor market fueled the jump after a larger-than-anticipated fall in weekly jobless claims. On the earnings front: LinkedIn beat sales and net profit forecasts but its full-year outlook was weaker than hoped. Ahead of those results, weaker-than-expected demand outside of North America - leading to a profit miss at General Motors. But GM says wait a minute, analysts' forecasts were off because a restructuring was not fully factored into estimates. Nevertheless, some analysts may cut their 2014 outlook for the world's leading automaker. AOL had its best growth in a decade - with most of that coming from higher ad sales. But the stock gave up a rally to end the session lower. Wrapping up other earnings reactions: Twitter lost almost one-fourth of its value one-day after posting disappointing subscriber growth figures and time spent per user fell. Pandora has a different problem. Costs are on the rise at the streaming music service. Shares were down 10 percent. Over at Yelp, growth spiked in terms of average monthly users; half coming from mobile. Shares of the consumer review website surging roughly 19 percent on the news. And a more than 5 percent jump at Walt Disney gave blue chips the boost they needed thanks to "Frozen" being a hit at the box office. Apart from earnings, the chill that hit consumers in December extended into January leading to slower comparative sales at a number of retailers. A falling stock market and wintry weather had negative impacts at the shops as well. But there's some optimism out there that things will get better as temperatures rise: Costco, Gap, Kohl's and J.C. Penney- were some of the best performing stocks in the retail sector. In Europe, investors went on a buying spree even though the European Central Bank provided little clues on if more stimulus is on the way.