Friday saw a flurry of activity ahead of the extended holiday weekend, as a highly-anticipated jobs report boosted investor confidence as the summer draws to a close. The U.S. economy lost 54,000 jobs in August but the private sector added 67,000 jobs, beating analyst estimates and giving Wall Street hope that a number of positive reports in recent weeks may reflect that the tide is finally turning in the U.S. Elsewhere, Bernanke told a panel that he had no options to prevent the failure of Lehman in 2008 while Samsung rolled out a tablet computer to rival the iPad.
In commodity markets, gold eased back from near-record levels and crude slid lower after a report showing that growth in the U.S. service sector slowed last month.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, closed up 6.27 points, or 0.6%, on moderate volume.
The biggest winner in Friday trading was one of the biggest losers to date in 2010; the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) climbed higher by 2.8% on the day. Natural gas futures rose the most in seven weeks after the impressive employment report; the creation of new jobs sparked hopes that fuel demand in the U.S. will rebound in coming months. Separately, the number of gas rigs increased for the first time in three weeks according to data published by Baker Hughes [see How UNG Lost 23% In August].
The biggest loser on the day was the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX), which slid almost 5% to close out the week. The slid came as the “fear index” slumped after the better-than-expected jobs report; the release gave investors increased confidence in the odds of a sustained recovery continuing throughout the final four months of the year.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.