Unemployment rate drops to 6.7 percent

Reuters: U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in almost three years in December, yet the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The data showed that 38,000 more jobs were added in November than previously reported. Construction employment fell for the first time since May and leisure and hospitality payrolls rose marginally, suggesting that cold weather in some parts of the country had held back hiring. There were also declines in government employment.

 

Liver drug boosts company 281 percent in one day
MarketWatch: This may be a record for one-day stock surges. Shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. nearly quadrupled Thursday after the company announced it was able to stop tests on a liver treatment drug because it already had met its primary goals. Intercept shares closed up more than 281 percent to $275.87, a whopping gain of $203. Normal trading volume is under 200,000 shares a day, but on Thursday, that shot up to nearly 6 million.

 

Expect a big year for health care acquisitions
Bloomberg: Health care companies with deep pockets and shallow product pipelines are poised for a busy year of acquisitions, with biotechnology firms likely to be among the most prominent targets even as they trade at record highs. Large drugmakers from Merck & Co. to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. are dealing with patent expirations on top medicines and cutting researchers as they refocus their product development strategies. At the same time, prices on targets are expected to stabilize after last year's run-up, said Jeff Stute, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s head of health care investment banking.