|By Marketwired .||
|January 25, 2013 08:20 AM EST||
NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/25/13 -- A string of positive economic data helped propel the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 Index to five-year highs last week. The Dow's and S&P 500's weekly gain of 1.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, were the third consecutive week of gains. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).
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A steadily improving U.S. housing market combined with a 5-year low in jobless claims has helped boost investor optimism heading into 2013. Last week, the Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment benefits declined 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted total of 335,000, which was the largest weekly drop in nearly 2 years. Strong earnings from major companies such as Alcoa and General Electric have also contributed to the market's recent surge. Collectively, companies in the S&P 500 Index are projected to report a 3.8% earnings growth in the fourth quarter, according to S&P's Capital IQ.
"The economy is entering the year maybe not with a running start, but certainly a head start," Jack Ablin, BMO Private Bank's chief investment officer, said in a recent telephone interview, according to Bloomberg. "It helps build a nice story for 2013."
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3M posted a net income of $991 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with a net income of $954 million in the year ago quarter, an increase of 3.9 percent. Revenues in the fourth quarter surged 4.4 percent to a new fourth-quarter record of $7.4 billion. "Our people executed well in the face of challenging macroeconomic conditions and we have built good momentum to innovate and move forward in 2013." said Inge G. Thulin, 3M Chairman, President and CEO.
Shares of Amazon surged to a new all-time high Wednesday after announcing it has acquired leading text-to-speech technology company IVONA Software. The Company's Kindle Fire tablets already use Ivona's text-to-speech technology. Amazon is scheduled to release its fourth quarter results on January 31st.
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