NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/22/13 -- 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, was the third consecutive week of gains. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).
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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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With more than 112.3 million active users globally (as of Q4 2012), eBay is the world's largest online marketplace. In 2011, the total value of goods sold on eBay was $68.6 billion -- more than $2,100 every second. The company reported revenue in the fourth quarter surged 18 percent year-over-year to $4 billion, which was driven by strong performances by their mobile and PayPal business.
Netflix is the world's leading Internet television network with more than 30 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month. The company has recently announced multi-year licensing agreements with Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Warner Bros. Television Group. Netflix is scheduled to release its fourth results on January 25th.
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