For the first time since 2008, unemployment is under 8%. However, despite the good news of 7.8% unemployment, markets sold off as the day dragged on.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) fought its way to keep a 35 point, or 0.3% gain, as both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq saw declines. The S&P snapped a four-day winning streak with its tiny half a point loss, but the Nasdaq sold off a more substantial 0.4%. Of course, daily moves, especially under half a percent, shouldn’t necessarily alter your buy thesis; but it's an indicator to stay focused, as earnings season begins at the start of next week, when Dow component Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) reports. Analysts expect Alcoa to check in with a penny per share in earnings for the quarter, which is a significant decline, both sequentially and year over year.
Staying focused on the Dow, Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) kept its strong run going, as shares increased 2.4%. Reduced unemployment would obviously help buoy its core business and sustain the nascent housing recovery.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) is still suffering fallout from its epic fail of a 2013 guidance revision on Wednesday. A series of Wall Street firms pounded the stock with downgrades. The latest was Sterne Agee, who dropped HP from buy to neutral. Even worse, Moody’s cut its credit rating to A- from A, weakening the company’s fiscal position. Despite being down 42%, this stock still looks expensive based on weak growth. CEO Meg Whitman has a tough turnaround ahead of her.
Meanwhile, the reason for the Nasdaq’s underperformance can, in part, be credited to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , which lost 2% on the day. This was just mourning for the anniversary of the passing of visionary leader, Steve Jobs. News of a 3- to 4-thousand person strike at a Foxconn facility could disrupt iPhone 5 production. Apple has yet to comment on this story, but it is one to follow through the weekend.
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