Friday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

The U.S. equity markets were edging out modest gains on Friday afternoon, buoyed by a stronger-than-expected labor market report and the broad success of stress tests at America’s top financial institutions.

At 12:25 p.m.: DJIA: +0.23%, S&P 500: +0.28%, NASDAQ: +0.21%.

Here are three stories moving markets on Friday afternoon:

1) The U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday morning that the headline U-3 unemployment rate declined from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in February, its lowest level since December 2008. Employers added 236,000 positions to their payrolls, a huge improvement over the average rate of 190,000 additions over the past four months, and well above consensus estimates for 165,000 additions.

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However, there is some bad news lingering in the report. The number of long-term unemployed remained unchanged at 4.8 million, or 40 percent of the total unemployed. January’s increase of 157,000 was downwardly revised to just 119,000, although December’s number was revised from a gain of 196,000 to a gain of 219,000… (Read more.)

UnemploymentFeb2013

Source: U.S. Labor Department