NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/29/13 -- 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. 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 Salesforce.com, Inc. (NYSE: CRM) and KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC).
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 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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Salesforce.com provides a customer and collaboration relationship management (CRM), applications through the Internet or cloud. The company is planning to propose a 4-for-1 stock split for shareholder approval at their annual investor meeting on March 20, according to a regulatory filing. Salesforce.com is scheduled to release its fourth quarter and full year results on Thursday, February 28th.
KLA-Tencor is engaged in the design, manufacture and marketing of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related nanoelectronics industries. The company reported a net income of $107 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2013. Samsung, KLA's largest customer, has recently stated they will maintain 2012 capital spending levels in 2013.
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