Why Facebook and DIRECTV are Surging

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) fell nearly 90 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, following worse-than-expected weekly jobless claims. Dow component Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO  ) led the decline, shedding more than 2% following management's presentation at an analyst conference. Not every stock was down, however, with both Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) and DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV  ) enjoying relatively modest rallies.

Weekly jobless claims disappoint
Data on weekly jobless claims came in worse than economists anticipated early Thursday. The report showed that 368,000 new applicants filed for unemployment last week, while economists had projected 320,000. The figure is far from the most important on the U.S. labor market, but it does suggest the economy is weaker than otherwise thought.

The disappointment may have contributed to the fall in the Dow, but the market's decline this morning may simply be case of continuing momentum to the downside. 

Cisco's management sees challenges in emerging markets
Cisco shareholders have had a difficult week, and it didn't improve on Thursday. The networking giant presented at an analyst conference, where management warned the company is having some difficulty in emerging markets, particularly Russia and Brazil.

Cisco said that the U.S. was recovering, but investors seemed to key in on the company's emerging markets prospects. Yesterday, Cisco shares fell after Citigroup warned that the company's future looks uncertain.

Instagram starts messaging service
In contrast, Facebook shares were moving higher Thursday after Instagram introduced a private messaging service. Instagram is a photo-focused social networking app owned by Facebook. The new messaging service allows members of Instagram to send each other private photos and videos.

The growth of rival Snapchat demonstrates that there is a demand for such a service, though Instagram's take on it varies from Snapchat's. Rather than vanishing after a few seconds, the new Instagram feature is designed to let users post photos without sharing them to all of their followers. In theory, it should increase engagement.

DIRECTV makes encouraging remarks
Like Cisco, satellite TV provider DIRECTV also had an analyst day on Thursday, but like Facebook, shares were moving higher. DirecTV's management said it expects to earn $8 per share by 2016, a growth of about 15% on a yearly basis, while free cash flow is also expected to increase. DIRECTV said it added 139,000 new U.S. subscribers in the third quarter.

That growth defies a broader trend seen recently in the paid-TV industry, with cable companies losing subscribers or struggling to generate growth. DIRECTV's subscriber additions suggests that it is somewhat immune to this trend, a positive sign for investors.

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