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After a strong October sent it up more than 400 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) continued that momentum into the new month, climbing about 70 points just before 11 a.m. EDT. The stock market often has a positive bias on the first day of the month as automatic investment plans kick in to add retail-investor money to the market. Among the biggest movers in the Dow are Visa (NYSE: V ) , Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) , with the oil giant holding the Dow back while Boeing and Visa post solid gains.
Chevron's decline of nearly 2% came after it released its third-quarter report this morning. Weaker margins from Chevron's refinery operations contributed to a nearly 6% drop in earnings from the year-ago quarter, but sales rose slightly as production of both oil and natural gas climbed during the quarter. Chevron's long-run prospects remain sound, as the company moves forward with major projects to bring liquefied natural gas from Australia to serve energy-hungry markets throughout Asia. Plans to tap the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater energy riches also represent a big growth driver for Chevron.
Visa has regained some of the ground it lost yesterday, climbing 1.7%. The card-network giant reported somewhat discouraging results, especially in light of rival MasterCard's (NYSE: MA ) stronger performance during the most recent quarter. One big issue facing Visa is that its exposure to Europe is far smaller than MasterCard's. That helped Visa when Europe was falling into recession, but now that the continent's economy appears to be on the rebound, MasterCard is benefiting more from its recovery than Visa. If U.S. spending starts to pick up, though, Visa should get a disproportionate share of any resulting gains.
Boeing has climbed 1.6%, reflecting both optimism about today's economic data on manufacturing and the aircraft maker's decision yesterday to boost its long-term production rate for its 737 model program. As Boeing's order book has climbed substantially in 2013, the company's expansion plans are not only completely justified, but they're necessary for the company to execute on the high demand for its aircraft. So long as the airline industry remains healthy, investors can expect to see Boeing continue to get new orders to bolster overall growth.
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