What a smoking day on the stock market Friday. The Dow went over 15,000 for a time, the first time ever. The S&P also soared into record territory.
What’s going on? Jill Schlesinger at CBS Moneywatch.com tells the Ron and Don Show a better than expected jobs report lit the fire. Over 165,000 new jobs created in April, the unemployment rate at 7.5 percent.
“It’s not like that’s the best news in the world, but there were fears that the number would come in lower. There was general anxiety that the economy had hit a bit of a speed bump here in the spring,” Schlesinger says.
It wasn’t just last month’s solid job numbers that sent a collective sigh across Wall Street. The numbers for previous months have been revised upward, so they’re looking even better.
“When that original March report came out, it was first thought that 88,000 jobs were created. Now we come to find out were were revised higher by an extra 50,000 jobs,” she says.
Couple that with a revised February number, and somehow the economy ended up with 114,000 more jobs than experts thought we had. While investors don’t usually like surprises, this one was pleasant.
So what does it say about the economy? Schlesinger says it shows companies are able to make money without hiring more people and can rely on the Federal Reserve to keep borrowing rates low.
But she cautions just because the rising stock market means some people are making more money, the average American worker is not getting the same kind of bump.
“You are looking at an economy that’s growing slowly. Your wages are basically stuck where they were a decade ago. And your 401K, yes it’s come back but your house is still a third less than it was at the peak of the market.”
Schlesinger says with the market heating up, investors should remain wary of trying to catch lightning in a bottle. But she says it is a good time to take a look at your portfolio and make sure you’re best positioned for the future.
“Go into that account and see if you are actually allocated in a way that makes sense for you,” she says. “And the cool thing about that is if you stick to that kind of discipline…you’ll train yourself and you’ll then start selling high and buying low, which is really hard to do in this world.”
At the end of the day, the Dow finished up 142 at 14,973. The S&P close up 17 at 1614, the Nasdaq was up 38.