Weekly Market Recap: New iPad Excitement, Job Market Optimism

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Thursday

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +0.55%, S&P +0.98%, Nasdaq +1.18%, Oil +0.53%, Gold +1.02%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $106.72 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,701.00 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 0.88% to settle at $33.88.

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Today’s markets were up because:

1) Greece. Markets closed higher today as investors grew hopeful that private-sector bondholders were on the verge of accepting a debt-swap deal with Greece — the final hurdle Greece must clear to receive a second, 130 billion-euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The bailout is necessary if Greece is going to avoid default, the repercussions of which would be felt throughout the euro zone and beyond.

2) Jobs. Data on initial jobless claims and planned job cuts were mixed today — initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 8,000 while a separate report showed that planned layoffs declined in February. Despite the increase in jobless claims, figures remain near four-year lows, and investors have already turned their focus toward the government’s monthly jobs report due on Friday morning.

3) Companies. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares were feeling the effect of the enthusiasm for the new iPad, which CEO Tim Cook previewed at a press event on Wednesday, climbing more than 2 percent during regular trading. Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) shares rose after the brewer reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and issued an upbeat outlook. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) also climbed after saying it would “announce a new strategic initiative in the Premium Single Cup Category” later today.

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