SOURCE: Research Driven Investing
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jan 28, 2013) - 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. On Friday, the S&P 500 Index closed above the 1,500 mark for the first time since 2007. "The bottom line is that corporate America is doing exceptionally well," said JPMorgan global market strategist, Joe Tanious. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX).
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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. Earlier this month 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, General Electric and Proctor & Gamble have also contributed to the markets 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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Shares of The Procter & Gamble Company hit a new 52-week high of $73.25 after reporting their fiscal second quarter results Friday. The company reported second quarter core earnings per share increased 12 percent to $1.22, which topped the consensus analyst estimate of $1.11. Procter & Gamble have raised their fiscal year 2013 core earnings per share guidance to $3.97 to $4.07.
Shares of Starbucks rose sharply after reporting record quarterly results Friday. The coffee chain reported revenues in the fiscal first quarter grew 11 percent to a record of $3.8 billion, and earnings per share increased 14 percent to $0.57 per share, which was also a record. Starbucks strong results were driven by a strong performance by their Americas and China/ Asia Pacific sectors, which posted comparable store sales growth of 7 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
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