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Stock markets rallied higher today after the Labor Department said that new unemployment claims fell 16,000, to 339,000 last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) has rallied 0.45%, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) is up 0.65%.
IBM's (NYSE: IBM ) 1.5% move higher is having a large impact on the Dow's move because it's the highest price stock in a price-weighted index. CEO Virginia Rometty sent out a company-wide memo saying that the company needs to move faster and respond more quickly to customers. IBM issued a disappointing earnings report last week, and Rometty is trying to get the company's financial fortunes back on track. It'll take a few quarters to find out if she's successful.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) is up 2.2% after Reuters reported a potential $100 billion bid to buy the 45% of Verizon Wireless it doesn't already own. Vodafone is willing to sell its stake in Verizon Wireless if the price is right, and this is the latest rumor in a long tango between the two. I don't think $100 billion will get a deal done but it could be the start of serious negotiations. A buyout would be good for both companies, although I'm betting on the seller, who has all the leverage in this negotiation.
3M (NYSE: MMM ) is the one Dow stock moving significantly lower today, falling 2.5% after it released earnings. Sales only grew 2% at 3M, and profit rose slightly to $1.61 per share, both below estimates. The company gets more than 70% of sales from overseas and foreign currency translation, and that's a major headwind for the company right now.
What 3M needs is more organic growth to drive future earnings. Find out whether 3M has what it takes to boost growth in The Motley Fool's comprehensive new research report on the company. Simply click here now to claim your copy today.