Unemployment was the story of the day on Friday, as a report from the Labor Department showed that unemployment unexpectedly declined to 10.0% in November. Only 11,000 jobs were shed in the U.S., the best monthly showing since December 2007. Economists had predicted a loss of 125,000 jobs and an unemployment rate holding steady at 10.2%.
The news sent risky assets higher and safe havens sharply lower. The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of assets available through ETFs, was flat, adding just eight cents for the weeks final session as winners and losers were evenly divided.
While better than expected news on the job front gave most equity markets a shot in the arm, less risky asset classes sunk on the news. Gold, which has made a remarkable run to all-time highs above $1,200 in recent months, finally plunged on Friday, as investors pulled money out of safe havens in favor of riskier securities. The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) lost more than 4%. Also taking a hit on Friday were commodity-related equity ETFs, led by the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which lost 5.3% to close the week. Also losing ground was the more broad-based HAP, which slid 0.8%.
Most equity benchmarks finished the week on a positive note, with small caps leading the way. The iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM) added 2.5%, while the related growth (IWO) and value (IWN) funds added 2.4% and 2.7%, respectively.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.