Boosted by a strong employment numbers, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (Dow Jones Indices: .DJI) made further gains today, finishing up 33 points, or 0.2%. Initial unemployment claims last week dropped to 340,000, a five-year low, down from 347,000 the week before, and better than analyst estimates of 350,000. Continuing claims were also near a five-year low, at 3.094 million.
Data on the international trade balance and productivity were roughly in line with expectations.
The Federal Reserve also released the results of its stress tests on the nation’s largest banks, and said that in the aggregate, the 18 banks hold fewer bad loans than they did a year ago, and are stronger than they’ve been at any time since the financial crisis. Ally Financial, the former financial wing of General Motors, was the poorest performer. Next week, the Fed will decide if it will approve the banks’ plans to return capital to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends.
Not surprisingly, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) reacted well in the run-up to the Fed report, which was released after hours, as it gained 2.9% on the day.
The results showed B of A would lose $44 billion, or 2.3% of its total assets, over the next nine quarters under the Fed’s worst scenario, which includes the unemployment rate jumping to 12%, and the Dow getting cut in half. According to the test, the bank is capitalized well enough to survive such a scenario. Shares were down 0.6% after hours. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) was also a strong performer on the day, gaining 1.2%.
The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) shares also jumped 2.5%, as Ray Conner, the CEO of the manufacturer’s commercial airplanes division, said that a solution to the battery fires should come “in weeks, not months.” Other reports today showed that the company had considered the risk of a battery fire nearly impossible during the 787’s design and production phase. Oddly, shares of the aerospace-maker reached a 52-week high, even as delays in delivery and possible blowback airlines, including one that recently sued The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), could hurt profits.