This morning it was announced that the number of first-time unemployment claims had fallen to its lowest level in nearly five years. There were 330,000 claims filed last week, down by 5,000 from the week prior, while the total number of Americans who remain on unemployment benefits fell by 71,000 during the week.
The positive unemployment numbers, mixed with strong earnings reports, have the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) up 49 points, or 0.36%, as of 12:40 p.m. EST. Only nine of the index's 30 components are trading lower at this time. Three of today's losers are Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) , Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) , and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) .
So why are they down?
Shares of Procter & Gamble are trading slightly lower today as investors await the company's quarterly earnings report due tomorrow. Analysts are expecting earnings per share to come in at $1.11 for the past three months. The company is also expected to post revenue of $21.91 billion, while the sales growth for the past year is believed to have fallen by 1%.
Shares of Intel have lost 0.4% of their value today. This morning it was announced that Intel was cleared to move forward with a $4 billion chip plant in Ireland. Intel already has a campus in County Kildare, Ireland, with more than 4,000 employees, and the new plant will add roughly 800 more workers to that area. The plant will produce 14 nanometer microprocessors. The news comes just days after Intel announced quarterly earnings and analysts questioned the $13 billion the company planned to spend on research and development, which is a 30% increase from what it spent in 2012. Most analysts had estimated the company would plan to spend roughly $10 billion.
The golden arches aren't looking so golden today, as shares of McDonald's are down 0.4%. Yesterday the company reported solid earnings, including net income rising 1% to $1.38 per share and beating analyst estimates of $1.33. Total sales rose 1.9% to $6.95 billion, but same-store sales rose just 0.1% over the year before. The company is also now forecasting a slowdown in global sales for January, and many investors believe the company will not beat same-store sales in the month. Back in October McDonald's same-store sales comps fell short, marking the first time since 2003 that had happened. If comps miss again in January, investors will flee as it becomes clear that the company will no longer continue its rapid growth.
More foolish insight
After making investors rich in 2011, McDonald's has been one of the worst-performing blue-chip stocks of 2012. Our top analyst on the company will tell you whether you should be worried by this trend, and he'll shed light on whether McDonald's is a buy at today's prices. Click here now to read our premium research report on the company.