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After a downbeat start to the year, the markets are ending this week on a high note for investors, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) climbing more than 130 points as of 2:30 p.m. EST. Twenty-seven of its blue-chip stocks are sitting in positive territory on the day. Despite a weaker than expected jobs report, the market celebrated economic data released today, and Boeing (NYSE:BA) has led all Dow stocks with a big 3% jump. Let's catch up on what you need to know.
Jobs disappoint, but unemployment keeps falling
America added just 113,000 new jobs in January, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released earlier today. That's only slightly better than the 75,000 new jobs added in December and far below the 185,000 new positions that economists expected on average. However, rather than panic, the markets have overlooked the weak report and instead have embraced the drop in unemployment to 6.6%, its lowest reading in the post-recession climate.
The optimistic sentiments have sent stocks rallying across every industry on the Dow, but no pick's having a better day today than Boeing. After topping the Dow with giant gains last year, the aircraft manufacturer stumbled to start off 2014 by losing more than 10% year to date. However, today's big gains should help erase shareholder uneasiness, as investors flock back to the stock despite little news.
Boeing, though, has received interest recently for its 777X wide-body aircraft. According to a Bloomberg report released yesterday, British Airways is exploring a purchase of the 777X to replace its existing 747 aircraft, while Ethiopian Airlines reportedly is speaking with Boeing about buying 10 of the 777X aircraft. It's another good push for Boeing's sales after the company captured more than 1,500 gross orders in 2013.
It's pivotal that Boeing keep up demand for its commercial aircraft as this market continues to climb, as the company's defense division's outlook doesn't look so rosy in the near term. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney this week cautioned that U.S. defense budget sequestration isn't out of the picture in the industry despite spending cuts being punted down the road for two years by Congress. McNerney said he expects roughly flat profit margins for the business in the near future, making the surging commercial segment all the more valuable for Boeing's outlook.
Fellow Dow component IBM (NYSE:IBM) is on the move today with a 1.5% gain to rank among the index's top leaders. The tech company, which has been among the worst Dow performers over the past year in losing more than 12%, is seeking possible buyers for its semiconductor business, according to a report today from The Financial Times. It's the latest divestment move for IBM, which sold a low-end server business to Lenovo earlier this year for $2.3 billion and is looking for ways to ignite falling sales.
Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.