Things are looking up since the bottom dropped out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) earlier this morning, rattled by an unexpectedly lousy jobs report and increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Syria.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its monthly unemployment data early this morning, showing a drop in the unemployment rate from 7.4% in July to 7.3% for August. What appeared to be good news wasn't all that great: The dip in the jobless rate came from decreased participation in the workforce, not an increase in job creation, as the 169,000 new positions fell short of the expected 180,000.
As analysts chewed on the results, the Dow perked up briefly. An overview of comments from economists, analysts and politicians seemed to support the notion that a Federal Reserve tapering of its QE3 program is likely to be put on hold.
Putin threats spook markets
On the world stage, discussions at the G-20 summit regarding President Barack Obama's plan to strike Syria has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to state that Russia would assist the Middle Eastern nation if the U.S. attacked. By midmorning, the Dow had lost nearly 100 points, though a slow reversal began within the hour.
There weren't many bright spots on the Dow at the midmorning mark, but McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has gained more than 1% so far this morning, and a menu shake-up may have something to do with it. While the food chain's decision to change its Dollar Menu offerings could be construed as bad taste, industry analysts say that it could actually be a smart move. The Dollar Menu & More rollout is now in beta, and could bring about the end to other menu offerings that have been less profitable, in addition to causing friction with the company's franchise owners.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is doing swimmingly today, a sharp turnaround from its 0.7% loss yesterday. News for the computer maker hasn't been rosy, such as a recent Bloomberg report pointing out that HP has been losing market share in Europe to Lenovo. Also, a recent fire at a chipmaking factory in China threatens to throttle the supply of memory chips in the near term, very possibly affecting HP, Dell, and Apple. Nevertheless, HP is up nearly 2% as lunchtime approaches.
By late morning, the Dow revival was in full swing -- as, it seems, the latest market speculation regarding the taper won out over concerns about the saber.
Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and McDonald's. 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.