With Wall Street getting back to work after Hurricane Sandy closed the markets earlier this week, it's fitting that jobs numbers would be the driver for a big jump for stocks. The monthly ADP report on business employment reported a gain of 158,000 jobs in October. That was enough to send the markets soaring, with the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) gaining more than 170 points by 10:45 a.m. EDT. The broader market kept pace with the Dow's gains, as well.
Rising stocks swamped the decliners, with United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) leading the way with gains of almost 3%. United Tech won a contract to develop new engine technologies, and Caterpillar stands to gain from reconstruction post-Hurricane Sandy. But the gains are more likely a reflection of greater overall optimism about the economy.
Yet earnings news tempered some of the gains. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) fell 1.5% after reporting a 16% plunge in revenue, most of which was due to its blockbuster drug Lipitor coming off patent. Sales of Lipitor dropped a whopping 87% in the U.S. and 71% globally, overshadowing a penny beat on earnings per share. Pfizer will need to come up with replacements for Lipitor in order to sustain its recent share-price advances.
ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) also dropped slightly despite beating expectations. Revenue fell 8%, with both output declines and falling prices hurting the company's top line. The company's refining margins improved, but that wasn't enough to prevent a 7% drop in net income. Huge buybacks of shares kept the damage to EPS figures to a minimum, but the bigger issue is whether Exxon can get its production back up.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. 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.