The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) has now posted gains for the past 10 trading sessions, a streak not seen since November 1996. Now the S&P 500 (^GSPC) seems poised to join the record-high party. The S&P closed at 1563, just two points below its closing high of 1,565 set back in October 2007.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims were better than expected. The Labor Department said the number of new claims fell last week by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 332,000. Consensus before the report had been closer to 350,000. In a separate report the Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index increased 0.7% largely because of a spike in gas prices. Last month the PPI was up 0.2%.
The Men's Wearhouse (MW) looked about as sharp as any stock out there today. Shares closed nearly 20% higher today. The company reported a loss of 7-cents a share after yesterday's closing bell. That was wider than expected, but narrower than the same period last year. In addition, the company says its sales have been improving. Traders also took well to a statement that the company is thinking about selling its K&G unit, which is one of its weaker performers.
IBM (IBM) set another all-time high today. Shares were up 1.76%; that's on top of a 0.7% climb yesterday. Shares are up 11% for the year, so they've played a significant role in the Dow's record rise. Prior to this week, IBM hit its high back in October after reporting earnings. IBM has been attracting investors by getting rid of underperforming units and moving into higher-margin businesses like data analysis. It's also planning $50 billion in share repurchases.
Another Dow component, Boeing (BA), pulled back a bit today after ascending to another 5-year high yesterday. The stock has been up more than 10% since the start of the year, even with its 787 Dreamliners grounded since January 16th. Boeing's latest climb came on word that Dublin's Ryanair (RYAAY) is about to announce an $18 billion order, one of the biggest in Boeing's history. As for the Dreamliner, the FAA has just approved Boeing's plan for fixing faulty batteries.
Online retail king Amazon (AMZN) fell 3.4% after a downgrade from JP Morgan. Analyst Doug Anmuth has cut his rating from overweight to neutral citing a deceleration in gross profits. He has also lowered his price target for the stock to $300. Yesterday, Amazon announced it will lower prices on its larger Kindle tablet.
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