After gaining nearly 100 points yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI) is up only 0.13% as of 2:45 P.M EDT, taking a breather before tomorrow’s closely watched payroll and unemployment rate report. Today didn’t lack news: Initial unemployment claims fell 9,000 to 323,000 last week, which was better than the expected figure of 330,000. That brought the four-week moving average down to 328,500, the lowest level since October 2007. Further, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose to 58.6 in August, beating both analyst expectations and July’s reading of 56. The news failed to impress the market, and most Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI) components are trading flat today, but a few companies have managed to buck the trend.
American Express Company (NYSE:AXP)
is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI)’s biggest gainer today, up 1.3%. Headlines on the company have been mixed recently. In late August, consumers rated American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) the highest in customer satisfaction among U.S. credit card companies for the seventh year in a row, according to a study by J.D. Power. However, mere days later CardHub.com issued its own study regarding credit card companies and their rewards programs, and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) rated poorly regarding its clarity and fees.
Regardless of the day-to-day headlines, American Express has an affluent base of cardholders who spend more annually on their AmEx cards than its competitors’ customers. This makes it popular with merchants and creates a virtuous cycle for its network effect, making the company more valuable as more consumers use American Express.
JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM)
is another winner on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI) today, up 0.8% despite recent negative headlines regarding its possible manipulation of energy markets and suspicious hiring in the company’s Asia offices. One possible reason for investors to remain optimistic is the recent news that JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) will be one of the lead underwriters for the proposed offering by LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)
. LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) plans to unleash a stock offering off class “A” shares worth at least $1 billion. While LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) shares had a minor pullback after the announcement, the company will be able to strengthen its balance sheet using the cash generated while its stock price trades near all-time highs.
Outside the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI), Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:OLED) is up 5.4% today as investors grow more confident that the market for organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs, is finally coming around.