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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) gained more than 300 points, or 2.18%, this week, and set a new record high in each of the past four days. The blue-chip index rose by another 0.47% today, while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ both closely followed, gaining 0.45% and 0.38%, respectively.
The markets forged ahead today after the Labor Department announced January's employment numbers. While December's numbers were revised lower, to 119,000, January posted 236,000 new jobs, when economists were only expecting 165,000. The increased job number lowered the nation's unemployment rate to 7.7%.
But even though the markets, in general, moved higher, a number of the Dow's 30 components ended the day in the red.
The Dow's downers
The Dow's drug giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) lost 0.28% of its value today. Shares fell after the company announced that it has ended its attempt to find a cure for hepatitis C. Pfizer, Gilead, and AbbVie, each have been attempting to develop their own hepatitis C drug over the past few years. As of 24 months ago, all three companies seemed equally in contention. But Pfizer recently fell behind in development, as its drug failed to perform as successfully as its rivals' offerings.
Most analysts never expected Pfizer's drug to become a blockbuster, and they don't believe this will have a major impact on the company down the road.
Both of the Dow's big banks saw their shares fall today. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) lost 1.55%, and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) was cut down by 0.89%. Despite the fact that 18 of the 19 financial institutions passed the Federal Reserve's latest stress test, the financial industry, as a whole, moved lower today.
Investors may have been expecting even better results from the top banks. And since most of the banks didn't exactly pass with flying colors, it's unknown whether investors will be forced to wait until the next round of stress tests before the government permits these banks to resume shareholder-pleasing dividends and share buybacks.
Shares of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) fell by 1.28% after reports broke that indicate the board of directors may be considering an outside candidate as the company's next CEO. Intel's current CEO, Paul Otellini, has announced he will be retiring in May of this year, and the board of directors hopes to have a successor prior to the annual shareholder meeting scheduled for May 16. If Intel decides to go with an outsider, it would be the first time the CEO job was held by someone who didn't previously work for the chip manufacturer.
Many believe an outsider could help Intel move more into the mobile chip market and other growth areas, but the risks could be greater than the rewards. An outside CEO may bring a new culture, new ideas, or a new strategic business plan, all of which could all fail or take years to fully play out. That might leave investors waiting for growth and higher returns in the meantime.
When it comes to dominating markets, it doesn't get much better than Intel's position in the PC microprocessor arena. However, that market is maturing, and Intel finds itself in a precarious situation longer term if it doesn't find new avenues for growth. In this premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand about the chip giant. Click here now to learn more.