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Friday, 06 January 2012 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: -2.72 Level: 12415.7 NASDAQ PointChange: +21.50 Level: 2669.86 NQ100 PercentChange: +0.8 R2K PercentChange: +0.7 SP400 PercentChange: +0.7 SP500 PointChange: +3.76 Level: 1281.06 NASDAQ-Adv:1537 Dec: 977 NYSE-Adv:1839 Dec: 1186 BRIEFING.COM] Leadership from financials helped give the broad market a modest gain after market participants weighed the troubles of Europe against the latest dose of domestic data.

The same old concerns about financial and economic conditions in Europe took yields on sovereign debt in the country higher today and kept constant pressure on the euro, which descended more than 1% to a 15-month low just beneath $1.280. News that many of Europe's financial institutions still prefer to park their cash at the European Central Bank was also regarded as a sign of diffidence in the region.

Negativity stemming from those themes was temporarily tempered prior to the open by the latest ADP Employment Change, which offered an encouraging glimpse into the official nonfarm payrolls report due tomorrow by suggesting that private payrolls increased by 325,000 during December. The jump in payrolls far exceeded the increase of 180,000 that had been expected, on average, by economists polled by

The latest weekly initial jobless claims count declined by 15,000 week-over-week to 372,000, which is on par with the 375,000 initial claims that had been widely anticipated, but that report received less attention since it was hardly surprising.

The latest ISM Services Index, which was released shortly after the open, didn't garner a great deal of attention either. It came in at 52.6 for December, up from 52.0 in the prior month, but still slightly less than the 53.0 that had actually been broadly forecasted.

Although data was regarded as in-line to positive, stocks still slumped to a marked loss in morning trade. However, once initial support levels held stocks were able to begin working their way higher. In contrast to the prior session, though, the broad market was able to push into positive territory, rather than be rebuffed at the flat line.

Financials were primary driver in the stock market's effort to trade higher. The sector scored a 1.4% gain with help from bank stocks, which collectively climbed almost 2%, as measured by the KBW Bank Index.

Agricultural plays Monsanto (MON 76.68, +4.01) and Mosaic (MOS 53.30, +1.00) were among the top individual performers of the session, thanks to better-than-expected earnings results. Despite their strength, the rest of the materials sector scored a gain of only 0.3%.

The consumer discretionary sector was able to put together a 0.7% gain despite early weakness among retailers, which were initially weighed down by an underwhelming round of same-store sales results for December.

Advancing Sectors: Financials +1.4%, Consumer Discretionary +0.7%, Tech +0.5%, Materials +0.3%, Health Care +0.2%, Utilities +0.2%
Unchanged: Industrials
Declining Sectors: Consumer Staples -0.2%, Telecom -0.5%, Energy -0.6%

Source: Briefing

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