More strong employment data is pushing stocks higher again today. The Department of Labor said initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 332,000 last week, below the 350,000 estimate. Only one weekly reading has been this low in the past five years, which is another positive sign for the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) responded by rising 0.44% by 3:20 p.m. EDT, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) was up 0.43%.
Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has risen 1.3% to a new 52-week high today. The gain comes a day after a liquid-natural-gas pipeline the company owns in Louisiana burst into flames when a tugboat ran into it. Four people were injured in the incident, but it doesn't appear to be a major spill, at least as far as gas spills go. The fire continues to burn, but Chevron was able to shut off the flow, so the worst will be over once the LNG in the pipeline is burned. Investors are clearly looking past this incident today and focusing on strong economic numbers even as oil prices rise, which is great for oil companies.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is up 1.8% today after sealing a deal to supply servers for the European Commission. HP's server and services businesses have been supporting the company as sales of PCs and printers slowly dwindle. After being beaten down last year, HP's stock will jump on any good news about the economy or the company's sales. Slow and steady wins the race, and HP is getting back to business as usual, which is good for investors in the long term.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is up 1.1% today after being upgraded by analysts at CLSA. It doesn't hurt that unemployment claims were down, which should mean more money in the pockets of consumers to buy Coke and all of the other goodies the company makes.