As investors await tomorrow's jobs report from the Department of Labor, today's unemployment claims report gives them a little insight into what they may see -- and judging by the market's reaction, investors expect an encouraging result. Last week's unemployment number came in at 329,000, which was a 19,000-claim drop from the previous week to a level more reminiscent to the pre-recession average of 320,000 initial claims per week, which most economists consider normal employment churn. The lower unemployment-claims number has given investors the confidence to buy stocks ahead of tomorrow's release.
As of 12:55 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is up by 112 points, or 0.72%, while the S&P 500 is up 1.04% and the Nasdaq has risen 1.05%. Only a few of the Dow's 30 components are currently in the red, so let's see why they're trying to bring the party down.
Shares of ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) lead all losers downward after the company reported earnings dramatically lower than what the company reported a year earlier. Revenue came in at $106.47 billion, while earnings per share hit $1.55. Last year the company reported second-quarter revenue of $127.36 billion and EPS of $3.41. Analysts were expecting a decline in both revenue and EPS -- estimates had pinned sales at $105.54 billion and EPS at $1.90 -- but the bigger-than-expected EPS miss has sent the stock down 1.8% this afternoon.
The other Dow loser at this time is Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) , down 0.6% despite news that Teva, a generic-drug company, will pay Pfizer and Nycomed $800 million in 2013 and another $800 million in 2014 due to a patent infringement case in which Teva started selling a version of Pfizer's Protonix in December of 2007. The stock may be slipping because investors were hoping Pfizer would get an even bigger amount.