Why the Dow Jumped 323 Points

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Stocks skyrocketed today as hopes for a resolution to the debt ceiling standoff swept over Wall Street. By the end of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) had moved up 2.2%, or 323 points, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both made similar gains.

Investors responded to a thaw in discussions on a debt deal as House Republicans put together a plan to raise the debt limit through November 22 to allow time to negotiate a budget and a long-term deficit reduction strategy. The House proposal would not end the government shutdown, however, and in a late afternoon discussion with House Republicans, President Obama rejected the proposal because it didn't reopen the government. Still, the gambit may open up further discussions that could bring an end to the current crisis.

Some of the effects of the government shutdown were made clear by today's initial unemployment claims report, which showed new filings jumping 21% from 308,000 to 374,000, well ahead of expectations at 311,000. While about half the new additions came from previously unreported claims in California due to technical issues there, 15,000 non-federal workers, including government contractors and others, added to the rolls due to the government shutdown. Furloughed workers were not part of the count.

The rising tide lifted every stock on the Dow today, and all but two gained 1% or more. Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) led the way with a gain of 3.9% as the defense contractor stands to benefit more than most from the Feds getting back to work. It also got a boost as Cannacord Genuity initiated coverage with a buy rating and a price target of $140. Boeing has been one of the Dow's biggest winners this year, up nearly 50%.

Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) was also a highflier, gaining 3.6% after the sports-apparel company announced a plan to grow revenues to $36 billion by fiscal 2017, or $10 billion above its current mark. It said it expects high single-digit growth in North America, Western Europe, and Japan, and low double-digit growth in China, Central and Eastern Europe, and emerging markets. Nike would need to grow sales at a compound rate of 9.2% to reach its 2017 target, a high mark, but the Air Jordan maker has delivered on high expectations before. The company also said it expected to hit the high end of its previously guided 2015 revenue range at $30 billion.

Finally, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) finished up 3.5% as the banking giant is set to report earnings tomorrow morning. Analysts expect a per-share profit of $1.21, down from $1.40 a year ago. The Wall Street institution has been hampered of late by a slew of lawsuits from the Justice Department stemming from the run-up to the financial crisis.


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