Why the Dow Advanced on Thursday

The bullishness continues; today the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) rose for the fourth straight day this week, rising 46 points, or 0.33%, to close at 13,825. Good news came from the Labor Department, as new jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 300,000. Wall Street was not only pleased with that, but doubly pleased that last week's jobless numbers were not revised upwards, as they frequently are. 

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) was the index's top gainer today, adding 1.9%. The company bought a small stake in a Seattle-based software company called Parallels, as well as getting a spot on the company's board. Value-oriented investors may also be taking note of Cisco's 2.7% dividend yield and its 13.6 P/E ratio, which don't look too shabby, either.

Aerospace and defense giant Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) was the second largest leader in the blue-chip index today, advancing 1.4%. Boeing has been plagued in recent weeks with problems resulting from its new Dreamliner 787 model. The National Transportation and Safety Board announced today that it hadn't yet figured out the cause of the battery problems, giving investors hope that it may not have been something too ominous or systematic.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) was today's top Dow laggard, although there didn't seem to be many definitive downside catalysts. Oil traded higher today, which could have been behind the 1.2% decline in Alcoa's stock. Higher oil prices can put tremendous pressure on Alcoa's operations. 

And then there was Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) . The online movie streaming company isn't in the Dow, but it sure got the market's attention today. Its stock rose an incredible 42.2% -- its best day ever -- a day after the company announced a blowout quarter where subscriber gains were much higher than expected. On top of that, the company made money when analysts had expected small losses, and CEO Reed Hastings issued guidance far above what most had been expecting. In short, Netflix did everything you would expect a 42% gainer to do.

The precipitous drop in Netflix shares since the summer of 2011 has caused many shareholders to lose hope. While the company's first-mover status is often viewed as a competitive advantage, the opportunities in streaming media have brought some new, deep-pocketed rivals looking for their piece of a growing pie. Can Netflix fend off this burgeoning competition, and will its international growth aspirations really pay off? These are must-know issues for investors, which is why we've released a brand-new premium report on Netflix. Inside, you'll learn about the key opportunities and risks facing the company, as well as reasons to buy or sell the stock. We're also offering a full year of updates as key news hits, so make sure to click here and claim a copy today.


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