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Having shed more than 100 points by early afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) staged a comeback in its final hours of trading, as Wall Street looks to tomorrow's employment data to gauge the health of the economy. Surprisingly, Verizon's (NYSE: VZ ) stock was the top gainer in the index, even after The Guardian revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly obtaining the phone records of millions of U.S. Verizon customers.
The Dow added 80 points, or 0.5%, to close at 15,040.
Seemingly blind to the outrage surrounding the indiscriminate collection of private citizens' phone usage data, Wall Street bid Verizon's stock 3.5% higher Thursday. To be fair, the company didn't have much of a choice in the matter -- it was ordered by a secret court to provide information like "location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and time and duration of the calls," as well as the phone numbers for both parties, according to The Guardian. Verizon isn't allowed to acknowledge the program exists -- and no, I'm not making this up.
On a less-Orwellian note, Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) shares shot up 2.9% today. The stock had stumbled 5% in the previous two days, which were both losing sessions for the broader market, as well. While the real estate market's on the mend, Home Depot, meanwhile, is looking for new ways to engage with customers and attract business: The company can send customers 3D layouts of kitchen designs, and is even engaging with some users via video chat.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) added 2.3% Thursday after CEO Ian Read conveyed to the Financial Times US Healthcare Conference a willingness to partner with rival companies to develop and market breakthrough treatments. As Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies deal with the unpleasantries resulting from the "patent cliff," the willingness to partner with competitors offers another source of otherwise unavailable revenue.
Lastly, Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) , one of just six blue chip decliners, fell 0.8% on Thursday. The energy titan is working toward a deal with Argentina's YPF to develop the Vaca Muerta basin, thought to be one of the two or three largest shale oil and gas reservoirs in the world. But with all that potential reward comes some geopolitical risk, and a hefty investment, which could approach $15 billion in time.
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