Why the Dow Was Up Today

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All three major stock market indices were up slightly today.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) +32.77 [+0.27%]12,392.69
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) +2.34 [+0.09%]2,676.56
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +2.89 [+0.23%]1,280.70

The biggest news today is the unofficial start of earnings season.

Each quarter, Alcoa (NYS: AA) is the blue-chip first reporter. And today was no different.

Alcoa reported after market close, but it was the biggest winner out of the 30 Dow stocks today (up 2.9%) as investors anticipated good news. The reported news was actually mixed, though. Alcoa's adjusted earnings came out at -0.03, either off a penny or in line with analyst estimates, depending on your preferred source. But Alcoa's Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld had this to say on the year ahead:

 "For 2012, we expect global aluminum demand to grow 7% and are forecasting a global deficit in primary aluminum supply."

After Alcoa, Bank of America continued its volatile ways, gaining 1.5%. On the losing side, Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) was worst off, down 1.3%. Not that we can blame the decline on this tidbit, but this year will be Microsoft's last as a major participant at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Tonight is the final keynote address from CEO Steve Ballmer. 

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At the time this article was published Anand Chokkaveluand The Motley Fool own shares of Microsoft and Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. 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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