U.S. stocks gain as data show employment growth in December

‘Just Right’

“It was not too hot, not too cold and just right,” Douglas Cote, chief market strategist at New York-based ING U.S. Investment Management, said by phone on the jobs report. His firm oversees about $165 billion. “In light of the uncertainty in December with the fiscal cliff, concern over earnings and other negative market events, the report is a positive surprise and shows employers are still hiring.”

RBC Dominion Securities Inc. raised its stance on U.S. equities in a report today, recommending that investors hold more of the securities than are represented in benchmarks.

“Regardless of what one might think about Washington’s last-minute fiscal deal, it seems to have removed a layer of uncertainty and this is positive for share prices,” analysts led by Myles Zyblock wrote in the note.

Lilly Gains

Eli Lilly rose 3.8 percent to $51.62. The Indianapolis- based drugmaker said net income will be $4.03 to $4.18 a share this year. Excluding one-time items, the company expects profit of $3.75 to $3.90 a share, more than the $3.71 average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Citigroup gained 1.4 percent to $41.96. New Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat may lead Citigroup to better returns and increased efficiency, according to Goldman Sachs.

Avon climbed for the fourth straight trading day, rising 3 percent to $16.05. Bank of America raised its rating on the cosmetics seller to a buy from neutral.

Mosaic Co. rallied 2.5 percent to $58.16. The largest U.S. fertilizer producer reported fiscal second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates after North American sales helped potash volumes to exceed its own forecast. Profit excluding a tax benefit and a foreign-exchange loss was $1.02 a share, exceeding the 88-cent average of 11 estimates.

PerkinElmer Inc. climbed 2.2 percent to $32.71, the highest intraday level since January 2002, after Morgan Stanley lifted its rating on the stock to overweight from equal weight. The firm said the diagnostic and research company has a better revenue and earnings outlook than its peers.

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