The amazing run of record highs for the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) appears poised to continue today as the market responds favorably to data showing fewer unemployment claims and a lack of inflationary pressure at the wholesale level. As of 10:55 a.m. EDT, the Dow is up 58 points, or 0.4%, to break through the 14,500 mark. The broader market is up similarly on a percentage basis.
Given the way the Dow is calculated, high-priced stocks have the most influence, and that's where the gains are coming from today. IBM (NYSE:IBM) rose a seemingly modest 1.4%, but its rise accounted for more than 20 points of the Dow's gain. Investors appear to be increasingly optimistic about the tech giant's move into the cloud-computing arena through its Big Data initiative, focusing on bringing more medium-sized businesses into the trend toward cloud-based enterprise software. Given the speed of the trend, IBM could use the initiative as a major part of its drive toward boosting earnings per share to $20 within the next two years.
Meanwhile, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) gained 1.3%, accounting for more than 10 points of the Dow's rise. As of this morning, a fire that occurred when a tugboat struck a Chevron gas pipeline was continuing to burn. Yet the news hasn't kept the stock from setting new record highs, with the potential of an expansion of California-based hydraulic fracturing potentially providing a much-needed boost to Chevron's domestic resources.
Outside the Dow, earnings news dominated the gainers. Ebix (NASDAQ:EBIX) soared 8.5% after the insurance support company announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter results this morning. Yet long-term investors should focus more on the huge opportunity that Obamacare offers the company as millions of new customers tax the systems that insurance companies have in place to track them, pushing more of those companies to bring on Ebix as a partner to help support their operations.
Finally, Flotek (NYSE:FTK) has gained 8.5%. Earnings came in better than expected, with net income nearly doubling for the full 2012 year compared to 2011. Given all the activity going on in the energy industry, Flotek is set to continue offering drilling products and production-enhancement technology well into the future.