All eyes are on the pending release of the December jobs report due out today in the U.S. Analysts are expecting the report to show that 240,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added which will keep the Federal Reserve on track for rate hikes this year. As a result, U.S. stocks rallied for the second day on Thursday pushing both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 into the green for the first time this year. This was prompted by investor expectations that the U.S. economy will improve as well as hopes that the European Central Bank (ECB) will take more aggressive action. The SPX traded up 1.8%, or 36.26 points, to 2,062.14. This marked the index’s biggest gain in 3 weeks. Meanwhile the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) also added 1.8%, or 323.35 points, to 17,907.87. All 30 of the index’s components advanced while the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) also jumped 1.8%, or 85.72 points, to 4,736.19, turning this index flat for the year.
On Friday, the Australian dollar (AUD) gained. After reversing previous losses, this gain came in response to Chinese price data which showed that a deflation trend was halted. As a result, the AUD/USD traded up 0.23 percent at 0.8141, while the USD/JPY was down 0.11% and trading at 119.52. On Thursday, data showed that the Ai Group construction index in Australia declined by one point to 44.4. Retail sales for November increased by 0.1% which was still below the expected gain of 0.2 percent. Meanwhile in China, data revealed that consumer prices increased by 1.5% year-on-year. This was above expectations for a 1.4% increase. On the downside were producer prices which fell 3.3% which was narrowly more than expected. Meanwhile the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, dropped to 92.45, down 0.10 percent.
On Thursday, Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ:SBUX.O) announced that their COO, Troy Alstead, will be taking extended leave so that he can spend more time with his family. Alstead was instrumental in leading the extensive reconstruction of the coffee chain a few years ago and he has been with Starbucks for the last twenty three years. The reason this is news is that Starbucks is due to report their earnings from the last quarter later this month and investors on Wall Street are expecting disappointing results. Over the last few months, Starbucks has tried to boost sales by re-launching their popular Pumpkin Spice Latte as well as by including wine and beer and lunch and dinner menus. The coffee chain also introduced mobile ordering. Despite these efforts, analysts believe that Starbucks will miss expectations for the second quarter in a row. The last day of Alstead’s current role will be the 1st of March. In extended trading on Thursday, Starbucks shares traded down 1.4% at $81.35 per share.
For some, the number seven is lucky but when it comes to the oil price, seven weeks of losses is definitely not lucky. Despite this continual decline, key producers are determined not to cut output despite a global supply glut. In fact, the supplies are piling up so rapidly that some of the world's largest oil traders will hire supertankers this week in order to store crude at sea. This week, U.S. and Brent crude futures both hit their lowest levels since 2009 and are down more than 50% since June 2014. With such a big decline, the increase in price on Friday due to positive U.S. economic data didn’t do much for the oil price. By 0436 GMT, Brent crude increased to $51.21 a barrel, up 25 cents while U.S. crude for delivery in February was up 41 cents at $49.20.