While Wall Street may be lacking in some areas, it's proven itself quite adept at one thing in particular: twisting data to fit its whims. The logical acrobatics show was on full display Friday, as markets struggled to decide whether July's newly released, disappointing jobs report was a good or bad thing. After trading at losses nearly the entire day, stocks rebounded to end with gains, as the Street decided that weak jobs growth meant more stimulus awaits in the future. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) added 2.8 points, or 0.2%, ending at 1,709, an all-time closing high.
Alas, not all of the S&P was able to rally. CareFusion (NYSE:CFN), for example, slumped 6% on the day, as talks to buy the medical-device division of London-based Smiths Group fell through. Had the deal gone through, it would have expanded CareFusion's product line and diversified the company; shares had risen more than 10% since the talks began in late May.
Eaton (NYSE:ETN), a diversified electronics company, fell for a more conventional reason: it simply had a bad quarter. Shares cratered 5.5% as it reported disappointing earnings, and cut expectations for the fiscal year. Although revenue jumped 40%, earnings per share fell as more shares were outstanding in the quarter. With shares up more than 50% in the last year, high growth expectations -- combined with not living up to those expectations -- ended up hurting the stock today.
Lastly, oil refiner Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) lost 4.2%, on a day where the oil and gas sector was the weakest performer in the markets. Second-quarter profit fell dramatically, as lower margins affected results. The company, however, still beat earnings estimates, and raised its dividend by 25%, a combination that typically doesn't result in today's pronounced losses. If the company keeps upping its dividend and buying back shares -- which it did to the tune of $100 million in the second quarter -- investors will have no choice but to bid the stock higher in the future, as long as profits get back on track.
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