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 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE: AMD) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT).
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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.
"With earnings surprisingly good, the trends are also more importantly favorable for the outlook for 2013, coupled with an economic recovery," said Christopher McHugh, Senior Portfolio Manager/Security Analyst with Turner Investment Partners, Inc.
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Advanced Micro Devices designs, develops, and sells microprocessor products, such as central processing unit (CPU) and accelerated processing unit (APU) for servers, PCs, and mobile devices. The company reported revenues of $1.16 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, which topped analysts' estimates of $1.15 billion. AMD's fourth quarter revenues were driven by strong sales from chips for servers.
Microsoft reported revenues increased 3 percent year-over-year to a record $21.5 billion in the second fiscal quarter. The company's record sales were due in large part to a 24 percent increase in revenues from their Windows division. Despite reporting record revenues, profits declined 4 percent to $6.38 billion when compared to the year ago quarter.
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