|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 F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) and Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX).
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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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F5 helps organizations meet the demands and embrace the opportunities that come with the relentless growth of voice, data, and video traffic, mobile workers, and applications--in the data center, the network, and the cloud. The company reported revenues of $365.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, a year-over-year increase of 13 percent. A series of new products being released over the next two quarters are expected to drive sales higher in 2013.
With sales approaching $23 billion, Xerox is the world's leading enterprise for business process and document management. Xerox ranks among the world's top innovators as it received 1,215 U.S. patents in 2012. Shares of the company surged on large volume Thursday after reporting fourth quarter results that topped estimates.
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