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U.S. stock markets have continued a slow move higher today on fairly strong employment news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has gained a marginal eight points near the end of trading, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) is up 0.11% after the Department of Labor said new unemployment claims fell 25,000 from a week ago to a seasonally adjusted 370,000.
In energy markets, oil fell 1.9% today to $86.20 per barrel after the government said gasoline supplies jumped 7.9 million barrels last week. Traders are also concerned about a slowdown in Europe, where the European Central Bank expects a contraction of between 0.6% and 0.4% next year.
Tech stocks were the biggest winners on the Dow today. Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) moved 1.1% higher, and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) gained 1.5%. Neither company released any meaningful news, but an analyst at Credit Suisse said investors are writing off Cisco too quickly, and with regard to Intel, some may see the PC sell-off as overdone.
Intel still finds itself in a precarious long-term situation if it doesn't find new avenues for growth outside of the PC. In this premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand about the chip giant. Better yet, you'll continue to receive updates for an entire year. Click here now to learn more.
Financial stocks like Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and American Express (NYSE: AXP ) are two of just a few Dow stocks in the red today, falling about 0.7% each. A recession in Europe would be bad for most financial stocks, so these stocks' slide comes as no surprise. On the bright side, the U.S. is still looking strong, and both companies should benefit more from a strong U.S. than they would be hurt by a weak market in Europe.
We're in the midst of silly season on the market, with fiscal-cliff worries dominating day-to-day movements. But long-term investors will notice that most economic data in the U.S. has been solid, and even China has returned to stronger growth. There are bargains everywhere, including the tech industry, where stocks have been beaten up across the board.
Keep an eye on the long term and use fiscal-cliff weakness as an opportunity to buy premium stocks.