Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

These 3 Stocks Are Beating the Dow Today

By Dan Dzombak - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:33PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The Dow is unchanged, but these three stocks are all up 1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.34%) is flat following a mixed unemployment claims report. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT the Dow is up six points to 14,557. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 2.02%) is up less than a point.

There was one U.S. economic release today.

Report

Period

Result

Previous

New unemployment claims

March 23 to March 30

385,000

357,000

Source: Department of Labor.

Following yesterday's disappointing private-sector jobs report, all eyes were on today's unemployment claims report. Seasonally adjusted unemployment claims came in at 385,000, which is 28,000 higher than last week and 35,000 above analyst expectations. The jump moved the four-week moving average up by 11,250 to 354,250.

US Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Chart

US Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance data by YCharts.

The jump may not be as bad as it appears. Economists from the Department of Labor seasonally adjust the numbers so that you can compare them across the year, taking into account seasonal fluctuations. For instance, extra workers hired before Christmas for the sales rush lower unemployment claims, so unemployment claims are adjusted upward to compensate. The end of March is a tough time to determine an appropriate adjustment, as some economists believe holidays and spring breaks cause the Department of Labor to seasonally adjust claims too much.

The actual number of unemployment claims, i.e., non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment claims, actually fell by 1,600 to 314,000. Investors thus see today's number as a technical jump and not a real one and are thus overlooking the bad report. Tomorrow brings the much-anticipated jobs report for March. Analysts expect jobs growth of just 190,000 versus 236,000 in February.

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is AT&T (T 1.43%), up 1.3%. Yesterday rumors surfaced, but were later denied, that AT&T and Verizon would team up to purchase Vodafone, with Verizon taking over Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless and AT&T getting the international operations of Vodafone. Today's big news is the Facebook phone event, where analysts speculate the company will announce a "Facebook Phone." AT&T and Verizon are loath to let another company create experiences between itself and people who use its network.

Second for the Dow today is Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 5.62%), up 1.3%. Yesterday HP plunged 5.2% after Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope downgraded the stock to sell. Shope believes that low sales will hurt prices and margins, that investors are overconfident in the turnaround of the business, and that the stock has run up too far. Today HP is gaining as some investors hope yesterday's drop was a buying opportunity.

Third for the Dow today is McDonald's (MCD -0.99%), up 1%. McDonald's hit a 52-week high this morning of $100.72 before dropping back slightly. McDonald's employees are on strike in New York City, but it looks like nothing can stop the ubiquitous burger-seller from moving forward. McDonald's is one of Fool analyst Russ Krull's top-two holdings. You can read his pitch and find out why.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$32,654.59 (1.34%) $431.17
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,088.85 (2.02%) $80.84
McDonald's Corporation Stock Quote
McDonald's Corporation
MCD
$241.63 (-0.99%) $-2.41
AT&T Inc. Stock Quote
AT&T Inc.
T
$20.57 (1.43%) $0.29
HP Inc. Stock Quote
HP Inc.
HPQ
$39.62 (5.62%) $2.11

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
338%
 
S&P 500 Returns
119%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/17/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.