This morning's unemployment numbers from the Labor Department showed that claims dropped to a five-year low of 330,000. That's down 5,000 from the prior week and 45,000 from the past two weeks. The number of Americans who remain on the unemployment list for two or more weeks also fell by 71,000 from the week before.
The positive jobs report as well as a number of noteworthy earnings reports helped lift the markets higher today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had the best day, moving higher by 46 points, or 0.33%, and now sits at 13,825. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) also had a winning day, though barely, as it rose by 0.01 points, or 0.00%, while the Nasdaq (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) lost 23 point,s or 0.74%.
Of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, only nine of them ended the day in the red. Three of the big losers this afternoon were Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD), which actually turned around and closed the day in the green. To read about why those stocks were down, simply click here. Or to read about three of today's big winners, which were Boeing (NYSE:BA), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) continue reading.
So why were they higher?
Shares of Boeing rose by 1.39% today, after it was reported that investigators have found a cause for the 787 Dreamliner that caught on fire at the Boston airport on Jan. 7. The plane's battery system overheated in what's called a "thermal runaway," in which the battery begins warming up uncontrollably until it catches fire. The news comes as the Dreamliner is still grounded because of a number of issues over the past few months.
Home Depot also had a nice win today, as shares rose by 1.34%. The company's long-term performance is closely tied to the housing market, which has been improving over the past year. One metric some investors use to predict the future recovery of the housing market is jobs data, and the positive jobs numbers released today point toward a strengthening economy -- likely one in which more Americans will be able to afford a home in the future.
Finally, shares of Cisco rose by 1.94%, making it the best-performing Dow stock of the day. The stock price rose after it was announced that Cisco will sell its home networking unit, Linksys, to Belkin, a maker of smartphone cases and other computer accessories. With the sale, Cisco is nearly out of all its consumer-facing businesses. Cisco purchased Linksys in 2003 for $500 million in stock, and the sale price is currently unknown.