Economists have hoped that 2013 might be the year when the recovery moves into overdrive, and so far at least, signs of accelerating growth are popping up. With a big jump in housing starts to a nearly five-year high and a substantial drop in the volatile weekly jobless-claims numbers to their lowest level since 2008, investors cheered the news with the expectation that faster growth will lead to better results from companies. By 10:45 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) were up almost 60 points, and broader market measures were also up roughly half a percent.
Within the Dow, the biggest gainer is Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) , which is up 1.3% in advance of its earnings release this afternoon. With analysts expecting a big year-over-year drop in earnings on slightly slower sales, any unexpectedly positive news could send the long-depressed stock soaring. With Intel seeking to expand its mobile presence while shoring up its traditionally strong PC-related lines, the report will give clues to the state of the entire technology industry.
Beyond the Dow, Power-One (NASDAQ: PWER.DL ) has plunged almost 9% after warning that it would lose money in its fourth quarter. With analysts expecting a profit of $0.07 per share from the company, Power-One's news shocked shareholders with a big downward revision to expected revenue, which it blamed on weakness in European markets and foreign-currency effects. Given that the solar industry has long relied on Europe, it's hard to understand why the company couldn't have sooner anticipated the impact of weak economic conditions there.
Finally, Sturm Ruger (NYSE: RGR ) has climbed 3.2%, extending big gains from yesterday after the Obama administration came out with some proposals for strengthening gun-control laws. Because most of the attention in the measures is focused on assault weapons, investors clearly believe that the threat to Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC ) , which has also soared in response to the proposal, isn't as large as initially feared.
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