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A number of stories were fighting for investors' attention today, but the one that likely had the most meaningful impact on the markets, as a whole, came from the mouth of Charles Evans, the Chicago Federal Reserve President. During an interview on CNBC this morning, Evans said that, while he believes the Fed is doing everything it should at this time, he doesn't think the nation's unemployment rate will fall to 6.5% until sometime in 2015. Evans also said he thinks it may be possible to turn off the quantitative easing programs before unemployment gets to 7%.
Additionally today, it was the first time that unemployment claims came out higher than economists had expected. The reading of 366,000 was higher than the 360,000 that was expected. Overall, the markets didn't have a good day after this news hit the wires. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) closed lower by 42.47 points, or 0.30%, after falling as many as 134 points at one time. The other two major indexes also closed in the red -- the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) lost 0.18%, or 2.73 points, while the NASDAQ fell by 3.35 points, or 0.11%. When all was said and done, the Dow closed at 13,944 and, although the index dropped like a stone today, not all its components met the same fate.
Dow stocks that moved higher
Shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) ended the day higher by 1.57% after a bottling partner forecasted higher volume in the future. If Coca-Cola Enterprises experiences higher volume, both Coke and its bottler should realize higher revenue and earnings-per-share growth over the same time frame. For a massive global company like Coke, maintaining solid growth rates year over year is extremely challenging, and it will take it from wherever it comes from.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) ended the day as the Dow's best performing component, after shares rose 2.61%. Today's stock performance is likely a result of the announcement yesterday by the company's CEO and chairman, Kenneth Chenault, that net of interest expenses, total revenue for American Express's international business operations rose 2% on a year-over-year basis. The previous mark of $9.3 billion increased to $9.5 billion. Although the company's most recent quarterly earnings were poor, some still believe the stock is a buy, and my Fool Colleague Jessica Alling recently gave 5 reasons not to worry about the company.
Along with one 787 Dreamliner, shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA ) were flying high today. The Federal Aviation Administration permitted the company to fly one 787 from Fort Worth, Texas, where it had received a paint job, to its new home in Evertt, Washington. The flight is simply being called a "ferry" flight, not a safety test, but the fact that the FAA would even allow the plane to be flown is a good sign . Officials are still conducting their investigation into the planes' battery system, which caused a fire and an emergency landing a few weeks ago. Boeing's stock price was up 1.49% today, and is now trading at just pennies below its 52-week high.
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