A Big Day for the Dow

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On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) rose throughout the day to end at its highest level since July, after Goldman Sachs reported earnings above average expectations, easing investors fears over fourth-quarter bank earnings. Thursday could be an even bigger day, with Bank of America (NYS: BAC) and other stalwarts reporting earnings. First, check out today's performance.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average+96.88 [0.78%]12,578.95

Bank of America as well as four other Dow components all report earnings Thursday. The Dow's performance will probably be predicated on these stocks.

Company

Average Earnings Expectations (Range)

Bank of America$0.15 ($0.04-$0.21)
American Express$0.97 ($0.83-$1.03)
Intel (NAS: INTC) $0.61 ($0.58-$0.64)
IBM (NYS: IBM) $4.62 ($4.56-$4.69)
Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) $0.76 ($0.68-$0.80)

For financials, this week Citigroup posted earnings below expectations, while Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo reported above-average earnings. Analysts have varying expectations for Bank of America, as it is much more similar to Citigroup than it is to Goldman Sachs or Wells Fargo. It will certainly be an interesting one to watch. Analyst expectations for American Express are much narrower than for Bank of America. Fool analyst Dan Caplinger recently took a look at American Express and called it "the value play in the card industry."

On the technology side, Motley Fool tech editor Eric Bleeker believes tomorrow could be tech's biggest day of the quarter as blue-chip tech stocks IBM, Intel, and Microsoft all report after the bell, as does Google. These four stocks should provide a good bellwether for the rest of the tech sector.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributorDan Dzombakowns shares of Bank of America, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Intel, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, Goldman Sachs, and Intel, creating a write covered strangle position in American Express, and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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