Dow Can't Hold Gains Following Positive Economic Data


It's another up-and-down day for the markets, and we're quickly losing gains made around midday. Near the end of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) has fallen 0.07%, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) is up 0.09%.

The midday gains were driven by positive jobs data released this morning. ADP said the private sector added 162,000 jobs in September, beating estimates of 152,000. This is giving investors hope that Friday's release from the Department of Labor may be better than expected. ISM data from August was also better than expected.

Stocks moved mostly higher on the positive data, but there were some big losers today.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) fell 11%, dragging down the Dow, after the company said its results would be worse than expected. The tech giant is trying to turn around its operations after years of missteps, and CEO Meg Whitman will need more time than expected. Still, the company foresees adjusted earnings of $3.40 to $3.60 per share in fiscal 2013, which makes the stock look cheap if a turnaround ever materializes.

Crude oil fell 3.6% this afternoon to $88.50 as traders worried about demand around the world. The data released in the U.S. today seems to indicate that the commodity should be headed in the opposite direction, but this is clearly a worldwide market. Jobs data was better than expected, and inventories fell by 500,000 barrels where analysts expected a 1.5 million increase, but worry about China's services industry and Europe have dragged oil lower. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) fell 0.4% and 1.4%, respectively, as a result.

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