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Exxon and Chevron's Gains Fuel the Dow's Surge

Dan Carroll
May 2, 2013

Forget yesterday's losses: The markets are roaring back into the green this Thursday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is making investors everywhere smile. As of 2:15 p.m. EDT, the Dow has pulled in gains of 116 points, or 0.79%, once again closing in on a record high. Surprisingly good economic data and a welcome decision from Europe have fueled investor confidence today, and nearly every stock on the Dow is in the green. Let's catch up on the stories you need to know.

Good news on both sides of the Atlantic
The European Central Bank kicked things off this morning by cutting interest rates in an attempt to light a fire under the continent's lagging business activity. The cut brings rates to a new record low, and as inflation dips, Europe risks stagnating in its recessionary climate. ECB President Mario Draghi will likely need to do more in order to prop up the European economy as Italy and Spain, among other nations, still face mountains of debt and high unemployment.

The economy's a bit better off in the U.S., and positive data today warmed investors up to the market's rally. Jobless claims fell by 18,000 last week, setting a new weekly low not seen since early 2008. Economists expect Friday's unemployment data for April to remain at 7.6%, but the jobless dip is a good sign that the slow American recovery isn't stalling out.

Among blue-chip stocks, oil majors have surged higher. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) shares have jumped 1.2% to rank among the top Dow leaders, and fellow firm Chevron (NYSE: CVX) has seen its stock rise 1.6%. Chevron got a boost today when a Canadian court turned away a $19 billion Ecuadorian claim against the company that stems from alleged pollution