U.S. stocks halt five-day slide after November jobs report

Volatility Drop

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, the gauge of S&P 500 options known as the VIX, plunged 8.6%, halting a record-tying eight-day rally that added 23% to the measure.

All 10 main S&P 500 groups advanced at least 0.4%. Industrial and consumer-staples shares paced gains, rallying at least 1.4%. Procter & Gamble Co. added 2% to $84.35 and Boeing Co. advanced 2% to $135.36.

Intel jumped 2.4% to $24.84 for the biggest gain in the Dow. Citigroup raised its recommendation on the shares to buy from neutral, saying stability in corporate demand for personal computers will benefit the world’s biggest chipmaker.

Boston Scientific Corp. advanced 3.9% to $11.78. Cowen Group Inc. analyst Joshua Jennings upgraded the medical- device manufacturer to the equivalent of buy from hold, with a target price of $14 per share.

General Motors Co. rose 3.1% to $40.31, the highest level since it began trading in 2010 after a 2009 bankruptcy. Hayman Capital Management LP disclosed yesterday it has taken a stake in the largest U.S. automaker.

Retailer Reports

Rite Aid gained 2.9% to $5.79. The drug-store chain operator reported November same-store sales advanced 2.8%, surpassing the 2.1% median forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

J.C. Penney plunged 8.1% to $8.13, extending a three-day slide to 19%. A letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 7 requested “information regarding the company’s liquidity, cash position, and debt and equity financing, as well as the company’s underwritten public offering of common stock,” the struggling retailer said in a quarterly filing.

Gap Inc. slid 2.1% to $39.40, a fourth-straight drop, even as sales at stores open at least a year increased 2% from last year. The biggest U.S. specialty-apparel retailer offered discounts of as much as 50% at its three brands during Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Family Dollar Stores Inc. dropped 2.7% to $65.80, the lowest since July. Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. equity analyst Charles Grom downgraded the discount retailer to underperform from neutral, with a 12-month target price of $56 per share. The stock has not advanced for eight straight sessions.

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. plunged 21%, the biggest drop in almost five years, to $92.85. The cosmetics and hair-care products retailer reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue forecasts that missed analysts’ estimates.

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