The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a major milestone yesterday when it finished the day five points up to mark the ninth straight session of gains. Though the index has barely skated by the breakeven mark for the past two days of trading, many believe the Dow is about to extend the streak to 10 days. As of noon, the Dow is up 59 points, or 0.41%. With the momentum behind it, the index may also be instilling greater confidence in the market as a whole, helping the S&P 500 come within 10 points of its 2007 high.
A little help Good economic news today may be one of the the Dow's streak is set to continue. Jobless claims fell for the latest reported week, and as we see more and more decreases, it points to a firmer underlying labor market. The rolling four-week average of jobless claims fell to 346,750 -- the lowest level in five years.
The producer price index was bolstered once again by gas prices, as the February numbers showed a 0.7% increase compared with a 0.2% improvement in January. The gas price spike during the month created the largest jump in the PPI the economy has seen in five months, but the results stayed in line with analyst expectations.
Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) may be getting a boost from this morning's PPI data: The gas company is up 1.5% so far today. The company is also benefiting from rival Exxon's prediction that American oil-production will increase 45% by 2040. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) has stated that it's on track to increase its production volume by 25% by 2017. Most American gas and oil companies continue to see improvements thanks to increased shale opportunities.
The twin frontrunners on the Dow today are Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), both up more than 1.5%. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)'s continued struggle with its botched Autonomy deal has opened a new chapter, as the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office has opened an investigation into the allegations that the British-based company willfully inflated its sales figures to boost its acquisition price. Despite the Autonomy mess, investors are still looking for Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) to rally, with 5,000 calls bought late in yesterday's session signaling an expectation for the stock's price to rise to $23 by mid-April.