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This week has brought some excellent economic news and yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is just now moving higher, up more than a full percentage point at 2:50 p.m. EST, after four consecutive days of losses. New-home sales jumped by 25.4% in October, proving that homebuyers are coming back into the market after a summer swoon. New vehicle sales have been one of the stronger elements of consumer spending and the industry recorded a 9% sales increase across in November. In addition to those good pieces of news, the U.S. economy also added 203,000 jobs in November, well above the 180,000 predicted by economists, dropping the unemployment rate from 7.3% to 7%.
With those positive trends in mind, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average trying to close in positive territory for the first time this week, here are some companies making headlines.
Inside the Dow, two industrial giants are pulling some weight. Boeing and General Electric (NYSE: GE ) are two of the biggest winners today, trading 2% and 1.7% higher, respectively.
General Electric announced today its selection of Oklahoma City for the company's first-ever Global Research Center dedicated to oil and gas technology. The new facility will create 130 high-tech jobs and is expected to have a direct and indirect annual economic impact of $13 million in the local economies.
This move emphasizes General Electric's commitment to building broad technical capabilities that will help company productivity and efficiency, and emphasize innovation -- all important factors to a healthy company and appreciating stock value.
Outside of the Dow Jones, General Motors (NYSE: GM ) is surging nearly 3% today after a solid week of sales data. It started Tuesday when the auto manufacturer announced November vehicle deliveries in the U.S. increased 14% over last year to more than 212,000 units. That performance was good enough to become the company's best November in six years. Each of its four brands -- Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick -- posted double-digit, and industry beating, sales gains.
The good news didn't end there, as General Motors reported yesterday that its deliveries in China, the world's largest automotive market, increased 13.3% last month for an all-time November record of nearly 295,000 vehicles. It was the second-best month of the year for General Motors in China and builds on an impressive year-to-date increase of 11.4% through the first 11 months.
General Motors also announced this week its plans to drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015 after it failed to build market share and sales. That leaves its Opel and Vauxhall brands to try to turn around a Europe business that has plagued many automakers with billions of dollars in losses.
"Getting rid of Chevy seems to be a little about-face for them," said Scott Schermerhorn, managing principal and chief investment officer with Granite Investment Advisors, according to Reuters." They talked about a global brand, which is led by Chevy," he added. "However, given the state of the market, focusing on the brands that sell well and no longer trying to swim upstream in growing the Chevy brand over there makes sense."
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