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Despite all the drama in Washington, Wall Street had a pretty steady week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was up 1.07%, and it could have been better if it wasn't for a bad earnings report from IBM. Instead of political squabbling driving the week, it was actually earnings that drove stocks this week, and there were some big winners on the Dow.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) was up 6.8% for the week, driven by strong third-quarter earnings. It reported a 6% increase in revenue to $8.3 billion and a 9% rise in net income to $1.4 billion. What's most important for the broader economy is that credit card spending was up 7.3%, which means consumers are spending again. American Express caters mostly to high-end consumers, so they will likely increase spending before the rest of the economy. The hope is that high-end spending will spill over to the average consumer over time.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) rose 6.2% for the week, and investors are starting to warm up to medical stocks as Obamacare rolls out. Pfizer has been pushing to improve its pipeline of drugs and both rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz and psoriasis treatment tofacitinib got positive results in late stage testing last week. These aren't the next Viagra, but they may keep revenue from falling in the future, which has been Pfizer's problem in recent years as blockbusters come off patent.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) rounds out the top three stocks on the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, rising 6.2%. The company released earnings and showed a 4.4% increase in revenue to $20.4 billion and a 40% increase in profit to $2.23 billion, or $0.78 per share. The company added 173,000 FiOS Internet and 135,000 FiOS video subscribers in the quarter, and Verizon Wireless added 927,000 subscribers. Verizon is spending $130 billion to buy the 45% of Verizon Wireless owned by Vodafone, and if it can continue to add subscribers at this rate, the deal will pay off in spades for shareholders.
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