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After more than a week of trading down, the Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI ) finished slightly up on the day, closing with a gain of 0.16%. European debt issues took a brief respite today as the weekly jobless report was released, with claims for the week coming in at 367,000, a thousand less than expected. By no means does this figure suggest an upturn in the jobs market, but it is encouraging after the string of negative jobs data released last week. In all, today's jobless data was only a brief side attraction for the market, leaving no traction for continued increases into tomorrow.
The energy sector received a sliver of good news on the Department of Energy's natural gas report, showing that natural gas-fired generation reached an all-time high, with hopes that increased natural gas utility and manufacturing power generation will remove the massive glut currently in storage, causing prices to rise out of the doldrums.
In the S&P 500, all but two of the industry groups finished the day in the green. Couple this nugget with the poor overall performance and the negative news we've received lately, and I believe that calls for positive reinforcement in the form of a brief recap of the Dow's top performers.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) -- up 1.55%
June oil futures ended their seven-day fall as OPEC dismissed the notion that an economic slowdown would curb oil demand in 2012. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sees an increase in demand for the remainder of the year and decided to increase production by 40,000 barrels a day, totaling the output to 900,000 barrels a day. The cartel's encouraging outlook bolstered oil-producing companies throughout the market, with Kodiak Oil (NYSE: KOG ) finishing the day up 1.13%.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) -- up 1.69%
Pfizer bid its longtime cash-generating drug farewell, as it stopped negotiating new contracts to sell its cholesterol-combating drug Lipitor. With the patent expiring at the end of the year, the company decided to stop promoting the drug, as the generic versions will soon take over the industry.
Travelers (NYSE: TRV ) -- up 1.13%
The property and casualty insurer saw a strong uptick today as debt issues subsided overseas and A.M. Best affirmed the superior rating of A+ for a number of companies' subsidiaries and affiliates.
The oil uptick
The announcement from OPEC could start oil on another run to $100 per barrel. The price has been static around the century mark so far this year, and although this can cost you at the pump, you can still invest in energy and lessen the cognitive dissonance you feel after filling up your tank. You can invest in the volatile oils market, or you could check out our free report, which highlights three companies set to soar when oil prices rise above the $100 market. Find out more about these excellent companies now.