Why This Stock Is Leading the Dow Higher

The Dow is relatively unchanged today following some mixed U.S. economic reports. The market is also awaiting the minutes of the December 2012 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which the Fed will release at 2 p.m. EST. As of 1:10 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up just three points to 13,415. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is up just more than a point to 1,464.

There were just two U.S. economic releases this morning:

Report

Period

Actual

Previous

ADP Employment

December

215,000

148,000

Weekly Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance

Dec. 22 to Dec. 29

372,000

362,000

Payroll processor ADP reported that the U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs in December. That's up 67,000 from November and far above analyst expectations of 149,000 jobs added. This bodes well for the Department of Labor's nonfarm payrolls report, which comes out tomorrow morning. It should be noted that the Department of Labor's report includes both public-sector and private-sector jobs numbers, while ADP's report only encompasses private-sector jobs.

ADP Change in Nonfarm Payrolls Chart

ADP Change in Nonfarm Payrolls data by YCharts.

At 8:30 a.m. EST, the Department of Labor reported that weekly new unemployment claims rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000. That is 10,000 more than last week's 362,000 and above analyst expectations of 360,000. The one-month average of new unemployment claims -- a more stable measurement -- rose slightly to 360,000.

US Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Chart

US Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance data by YCharts.

Given the lukewarm economic reports and the impending release of the Federal Reserve's December 2012 meeting minutes, it's no surprise that the market is relatively unchanged.

Today's Dow Leader
For the second day in a row, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is leading the Dow, up 3.2% to $15.50. 2012 was a terrible year for HP: The stock finished the year down 47% thanks to two $8 billion-plus writedowns, a declining market for PCs, and accusations of fraud against the former CEO of one of its acquisitions. Earlier this week the company announced in a filing that it continues to consider selling off underperforming divisions. The stock has rallied 20% in the past month.

With HP's stock so beaten down, value investors are getting interested. Some are beginning to wonder whether HP is one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market or if this is a minor detour on its road to irrelevance. The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.


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