After rising in Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) dove to 40 points in the red by 12:30 p.m. after U.S. nonfarm payroll and unemployment figures for March landed generally a bit under expectations.
The economy added 192,000 jobs last month, which was just 8,000 under economists' expectations. The February payroll count was revised up to 197,000, while January numbers also took an updated jump to 144,000.
The unemployment rate remained constant at 6.7% for March, which is perhaps an understated win for the economy as over 500,000 new workers entered the workforce, and enough of those new employment seekers were able to find jobs to keep the rate unchanged.
Sixteen of the 30 Dow components were up in early afternoon.
The Dow's underrated stories of the week
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) saw its stock climb this week on multiple reports of strong sales performance.
Early on Friday the market learned that Boeing has overtaken rival Airbus in net new orders for the first quarter -- 234, in total. Earlier in the week, Boeing announced that Air Canada had signed at order for 61 jets worth $6.5 billion at list prices.
The strong first quarter sales should boost Boeing for the next few weeks as the market awaits first-quarter financial results for the company. At this point, all indications are that Boeing will perform quite well in the quarter and will remain positioned as the global leader in aircraft manufacturing for the foreseeable future.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) had a tumultuous week, posting decent gains through Thursday before giving most of that back in early Friday trading. Last week, Microsoft announced a shift in its software strategy that would bring its industry-standard Office product suite to the Apple iPad. The news boosted the stock nearly 2.5% that day and continued pushing the stock to $41.55 early Wednesday.
Microsoft was down about 2.6%, but this movement does not seem to be correlated to the company's fundamentals. Since new CEO Satya Nadella took the helm, the company has made a dizzying number of major announcements that will fundamentally change its operations. In my view, these changes are all very positive.
- Windows will now be free to use on any device with a screen smaller than 9 inches.
- Nadella reengineered the company's executive management chart.
- He's positioned Microsoft as a scrappy underdog, no longer the industry leader it once was.
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