Why the Dow Closed Higher

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was driven today by a number of different factors: earnings reports, the weather, existing home sales, and a number of reports coming from different government agencies. But, as the closing bell rang, the Dow ended up 26 points, and sat at 13,103.

The jobless claims numbers were slightly good and slightly bad. Initial claims for last week came in at 369,000, down 23,000 from the revised numbers from the prior week, but the four-week averages are up 1,500. While this report really can't be tied to any company in general, it does indicate that the U.S. economy is still struggling, which is not what any investor wants to hear.

Other reports and news today did directly relate to some stocks. Find out why three of the Dow's components fell today, or stick with me to learn why Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) , Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , and Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) all saw shares rise.

So why are they down?
Shares of Procter & Gamble rose by 2.92% after the company announced earnings, which investors seemed to like. The company beat estimates on earnings per share, but slightly missed on revenue. What really sent shares higher was comments from management that results came in at the high end of their expectations, and that the company was ahead of plan on operating profit, earnings per share, and cash. Investors have not heard these kinds of comments from companies this quarter; it was very refreshing to hear it from at least one.

Both Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard moved higher after a report from the Census Bureau reported durable goods numbers for September. The sectors which saw the largest gains were machinery, which was up 9.2%, and primary metals, which saw an increase of 4.1%. Both these numbers bode well for Caterpillar and should indicate that the company may be doing better than investors think after the company's earnings report. Caterpillar closed the day up 0.97%.

The report also indicated that the computer and electronic products sector dropped 2.5%, and Hewlett-Packard and Intel (NAS: INTC) both saw shares rise on the news. HP and Intel were both up 1.07% when the bell rang. The most logical explanation, again, is that these companies have been hammered the past few weeks, and this news indicates that maybe the sector is not performing as badly as investors had previously thought.

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The article Why the Dow Closed Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

Matt Thalman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Intel and The Procter & Gamble Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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