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Stocks tumble, crude oil surges on OPEC deal

Heidi Chung
Reporter

Stock got slammed during Friday’s trading session, while crude oil ( CL=F ) surged.

The S&P 500 ( ^GSPC ) slumped 2.33%, or 62.87 points, and had its worst week in more than eight months as of market close. The Dow ( ^DJI ) sank 558.72 points, or 2.24%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq ( ^IXIC ) tumbled 3.05%, or 219.01 points. Technology was the worst-performing sector during Friday’s selloff.

Crude oil soared 2.18% and settled at $52.61 per barrel after OPEC agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day during the second day of negotiations in Vienna. This was the commodity’s best weekly performance in more than two months.

Job growth continues to be positive, but slowed in November. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 155,000 in November , which was below economists’ expectations for 198,000. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised October’s jobs number down to 237,000 from the 250,000 initially reported.

The unemployment held steady at 3.7%, as expected. Average hourly earnings in November rose 0.2% over the month of October and 3.1% over last year.

All of this continues the market theme in which market volatility has clashed with firm economic data.

“The fear of additional U.S. trade taxes is really not being well received, and investors seem to see the risk as rising,” UBS economist Paul Donovan said of this week’s market sell-off. “Otherwise, economic data was generally pretty good.”

JPMorgan’s top quant Marko Kolanovic bluntly argues that markets have disconnected from reality.

“Positive GDP and earnings are ‘reality,’ which is currently starkly disconnected from equity sentiment, valuation, and positioning,” Kolanovic said in a note to clients on Friday. He pointed to price-earnings ratios being near five-year lows and hedge funds being underexposed to stocks.

Stocks have disconnected from reality, JP Morgan’s Marko Kolanovic argues.

Regarding the weaker-than-expected November jobs data, economists aren’t yet ready to sound an alarm.

“The slightly more modest 155,000 gain in payroll employment in November may not go down well in markets given the heightened nervousness in recent months, but this is still a solid gain that suggests economic growth is gradually slowing back towards its potential pace,” Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth said. “There is nothing here to suggest the economy is suffering a more sudden downturn.”

Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com’s senior economic analyst, said,  “As the Federal Reserve looks at the employment data going into the next meeting, it likely remains on track to raise rates by a quarter of a point. The bigger question remains what it will signal regarding the trajectory of rates, or the number of rate hikes, in the year ahead. Investors clearly want the Fed to cool it with rate hikes amid concerns about trade and tariffs, risks for global growth and the slowdown in the housing market.”

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics echoed Hamrick’s prediction of a likely rate hike next month despite the weaker-than-expected jobs number. “The rise in payrolls was a bit below the recent trend, although not dramatically given normal volatility. The data likely remain strong enough for the Fed to raise rates again at this month’s meeting, although the statement and the dot plot will probably have a more dovish tone than last time.”

“I am happy to report that our economy is currently performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday night . “A strong job market has encouraged more people to participate in the labor market, another positive development. In fact, by many national-level measures, our labor market is very strong.”

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

STOCKS: Altria makes massive cannabis bet, Broadcom and Lululemon soar on earnings beat

Altria ( MO ) jumped after the company announced a $1.8 billion investment in cannabis company Cronos Group ( CRON ). The deal is expected to finalize in the first half of 2019 and represents a 45% equity stake in Cronos. Altria will also be nominating 4 members to Cronos’ board of directors. Chronos shares soared more than 20% for their best day in 10 months.

Broadcom ( AVGO ) shares jumped after the c hipmaker reported better-than-expected Q4 earnings after the bell on Thursday . The company earned $5.85 per share versus the $5.56 per share analysts were anticipating. Revenue came in at $5.45 billion which was above consensus of $5.40 billion.

Atheleisure brand Lululemon ( LULU ) stock sank on Friday after the company reported sales that beat consensus estimates . Though the company beat on both the top and bottom lines, fourth quarter outlook was weaker than expected. Lululemon expects to earn $1.64 per share on $1.13 billion of revenue.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung .

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