The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ADP, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Forest Laboratories, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and Novo Nordisk

We’d seen evidence of businesses cutting back on capital spending in the wake of fiscal cliff uncertainty, but apparently this has not translated to company payrolls, at least not in December. In addition, with a 39K gain in construction jobs, we see that the economic recovery being bolstered by the housing market — no doubt spurred by post-Sandy building — continues unabated.

As of now, Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) non-farm payroll report is expected to be 150K new jobs in December. But this big ADP surprise may cause analysts to take a second look before tomorrow morning’s BLS report. In recent months, the ADP and BLS reports have been pretty closely aligned.

Weekly jobless claims were also released Thursday morning, rising 10K to 372K. This is above the 4-week average of 360K, but still within our post-Sandy range. The holiday season is also a very difficult one to see an adequate reflection of the overall jobs market. Even more, jobless claims data from 9 states were estimated for this morning’s report due to holiday-related issues.

Yesterday, the Dow gained 300 points and the Nasdaq shot up 3%. It seems to have become clear that the fiscal cliff resolution passed by Congress — no matter how temporary or flimsy — has created an early new year relief rally.

The following pharma companies with favorable Zacks Rank are also performing well and are worth considering.

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.