Why the Dow Popped Today

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After a down day yesterday, all three major indices were up about a percent today:

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) +135.63 [1.12%]12,287.04
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +13.38 [1.07%]1,263.02
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) +23.76 [0.92%]2,613.74

In other indicator news, oil was up slightly to just under $100 a barrel, the yield on 10-year treasury bonds were down slightly to 1.9%, and gold fell for the sixth straight day to $1,548.40 an ounce.

Today's Italian long-term bond auction that helped spook the market yesterday had a "meh" result. The yields Italy got were lower than last month's auction, but still around 7% on 10-year debt. At least there were buyers!

Jobless-claims data was also positive, but if I had to pick one news event that was the biggest driver of the market today, it would be the National Association of Realtors' pending sales index. The November index came in 5.9% over last year's (and 7.3% above October's reading). The index is at a one-and-a-half year high.

Looking at individual stocks, the biggest winners predictably had some tie to housing. In the S&P 500, the top two and four of the six biggest winners were housing-related: Masco (NYS: MAS) [8.5%], Pulte (NYS: PHM) [5.9%], Lennar [4.6%], and DR Horton [4.4%].

In the Dow, all 30 stocks were up, but Bank of America (NYS: BAC) [3.3%] and JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) [2.2%] were the leaders. Because of their financial dealings, their stocks generally get boosts from favorable housing and Europe news.

Today's market news was a boost to our portfolios, but remember to keep things in perspective and invest for the long term -- think in years and decades, not days and months. For a stock that The Motley Fool's chief investment officer believes has a long, prosperous future ahead of it, check out our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Get access to the report and find out the name of this legendary company.

At the time this article was published Anand Chokkaveluand The Motley Fool own  shares of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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