There were two economic releases today which were mixed for stocks. The first release was the Department of Labor's nonfarm payroll report. The U.S. economy created 114,000 new jobs in September, below last month's 142,000 and analyst expectations of 115,000 to 118,000.
The second economic release today was the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, marking the first time it's been below 8% in the past three years. That's down from 8.1% in August and far better than analyst expectations of 8.2%. Manufacturing continues to shed jobs, while the government, finance, health care, and transportation sectors added jobs in the month.
The markets as a whole are up, and a few stocks are leading the Dow higher.
Today's Dow leaders
Today's Dow leader is Home Depot (NYSE:HD) up 1.85% ($1.15) to $62.88. The home improvement retailer hit a 52-week high today of $63.09 before falling slightly. Home Depot has been on a tear this year with the steadily improving housing market. The stock is up nearly 50% year to date. Fool analyst Sean Williams recently wrote on why Home Depot CEO Francis Blake is one incredible CEO.
Second for the day is Boeing (NYSE:BA), up 1.63% ($1.15) to $71.08. On Wednesday Boeing closed a deal to sell 85 737s to GE's (NYSE:GE) leasing business. The deal was first announced in July at England's Farnborough International Airshow. Fool analyst John Maxfield recently took an in-depth look at Boeing. Click here for his take.
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For GE, the financial crisis struck a blow, but management took advantage of the market's dip to make strategic bets in energy. If you're a GE investor, you need to understand how these bets could drive this company to become the world's infrastructure leader. At the same time, you need to be aware of the threats to GE's portfolio. To help, we're offering comprehensive coverage for investors in a premium report on General Electric, in which our industrials analyst breaks down GE's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold during the year. To get started, click here now.
Dan Dzombak can be found on his Facebook page. He holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here and like his Facebook page to follow his investing articles. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of The Home Depot. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.