After three days of substantial losses, the stock market has investors wondering if the summer rally is finally giving way to an autumn correction. Yet despite some of the worries that have come with the beginning of earnings season, many point to today's big drop in first-time unemployment claims to multiyear low levels as evidence that a U.S. recovery is finally starting to be felt in Main Street America. That helped push stocks higher, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) up by 75 points at around 10:45 a.m. EDT.
Financials led the way higher, with JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) both rising about 2%. Although economic news has recently tended to lift big banks in general, investors are also looking forward to JPMorgan's earnings report tomorrow to get insight into the fundamental health of the financial sector. As hard as it is to understand banking operations these days, though, it'll take some work to understand everything JPMorgan tells you tomorrow, and risks abound for both it and B of A due to regulatory scrutiny and a host of current and potential lawsuits.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) lost 1% as speculation that Japan's Softbank could buy Verizon rival Sprint (NYSE: S ) gained traction. In essence, anything that's good for Sprint is almost by definition bad for Verizon, and with other industry players including T-Mobile and MetroPCS also joining the consolidation trend, Verizon could see tougher competition ahead.
Finally, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) picked up almost 1%, gaining back most of its losses from yesterday in the wake of Chevron's earnings warning. Oil prices have been resilient even in the face of slower economic growth worldwide, suggesting that if the global economy does start booming again, there's plenty of upside left for energy.
Streaks were made to be broken
Short-term moves are going to be earnings-driven for the foreseeable future, but it's still important to take a long-term perspective in weighing which stocks to buy. For instance, with Bank of America, current conditions play a big role in its near-term results, but those favorable conditions won't last forever. Find out whether Bank of America is a buy in our premium research report on the bank. The report details Bank of America's prospects, including three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Just click here to get access.