Positive Economic Data Helps the Markets Today


This morning a number of positive economic data points were released, buoying the markets. As of 12:45 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 99 points, or 0.67%, while the S&P 500 has risen 0.66% and the Nasdaq has climbed 0.84%.

Stocks are feeling the benefits of a 9,000-claim decline in weekly jobless claims, a 0.5% increase in personal income that beat out a 0.3% increase in personal spending, and a National Association of Realtors report indicating that pending home sales rose to a 6.5-year high after an increase of 6.7% in May.

Nearly all of the Dow's 30 components are in the green today, so let's take a look outside the blue-chip index to see which stocks are missing out on the market party. Shares of Mosaic are down 1.4% this afternoon after dropping 1.8% yesterday. The agricultural-chemical company was downgraded by Citigroup from "buy" to "neutral" yesterday. The analyst noted that the company's fundamentals were deteriorating and set Mosaic's price target at $57 per share.

Mosaic's competitor Monsanto received an analyst upgrade, but despite the increased earnings-per-share estimates from UBS, shares of the chemical company are down 1.6%. In last night's quarterly results, Monsanto announced a 3% drop in earnings. The company posted EPS of $1.68, while analysts were expecting $1.61, but the company had earned $1.74 last year. Revenue was higher than last year's by just 1%, and costs and weak results from its cotton and soybean units weighed on results.

Paychex is down 5.3% today after the company reported earnings last night, missing analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Revenue came in at $585.3 million, up 6% from the previous year, but expectations were set at $586.4 million. EPS of $0.34 fell short of a forecast $0.37. The company didn't miss analysts goals by much, but for a fast-growing company like Paychex, one miss will send shortsighted shareholders running for the hills.

Lastly, shares of DIRECTV are down 1% after the company announced that its Sky Brazil unit had overstated its subscriber base during different times in 2012 and 2013. Additionally, employees would lower customer bills or eliminate balances in order to keep customers from leaving the company. These different methods helped improve customer retention during 2012 and parts of this year. DIRECTV says the total number of Sky Brazil customers at the end of 2012 should have been about 100,000 lower than the 5.04 million it reported and about 200,000 lower than the 5.26 million it stated as of March 31, 2013. Moving forward, the churn rate will likely be much higher than in the past, but the costs of this misstep should not be massive to DIRECTV.

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The article Positive Economic Data Helps the Markets Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends DirecTV and Paychex. 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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