As investors await tomorrow's jobs report from the Department of Labor, today's unemployment claims report gives them a little insight into what they may see -- and judging by the market's reaction, investors expect an encouraging result. Last week's unemployment number came in at 329,000, which was a 19,000-claim drop from the previous week to a level more reminiscent to the pre-recession average of 320,000 initial claims per week, which most economists consider normal employment churn. The lower unemployment-claims number has given investors the confidence to buy stocks ahead of tomorrow's release.
As of 12:55 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up by 112 points, or 0.72%, while the S&P 500 is up 1.04% and the Nasdaq has risen 1.05%. Only a few of the Dow's 30 components are currently in the red, so let's see why they're trying to bring the party down.
Shares of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) lead all losers downward after the company reported earnings dramatically lower than what the company reported a year earlier. Revenue came in at $106.47 billion, while earnings per share hit $1.55. Last year the company reported second-quarter revenue of $127.36 billion and EPS of $3.41. Analysts were expecting a decline in both revenue and EPS -- estimates had pinned sales at $105.54 billion and EPS at $1.90 -- but the bigger-than-expected EPS miss has sent the stock down 1.8% this afternoon.
The other Dow loser at this time is Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), down 0.6% despite news that Teva, a generic-drug company, will pay Pfizer and Nycomed $800 million in 2013 and another $800 million in 2014 due to a patent infringement case in which Teva started selling a version of Pfizer's Protonix in December of 2007. The stock may be slipping because investors were hoping Pfizer would get an even bigger amount.
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. 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.