Why the Dow's Staying Strong This Afternoon

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The stock market posted gains today on good news from Goldman Sachs and relief that the International Monetary Fund appears poised to throw more funding toward the European sovereign debt crisis. Unlike yesterday, the markets have kept advancing into the afternoon. Just before 2:15 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were up 74 points to 12,556, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) rose 11 points to 1,305.

Banks in particular have performed well today. But even beyond the banking sector, most stocks in the Dow also rose. Home Depot (NYS: HD) jumped more than 2% as sentiment toward the homebuilding sector grew. The National Association of Home Builders saw its sentiment index jump four points to 25. Even though a level of 50 is considered neutral, the improving measure sent most homebuilders and home improvement retailers higher.

Also up strongly was Cisco (NAS: CSCO) , rising 1.4%. Good results from integrated circuit maker Linear Technology, along with news of the departure of co-founder Jerry Yang from Yahoo!, helped lead tech stocks higher generally. Cisco doesn't report until early February, but analysts expect a 16% jump in earnings per share for the quarter.

On the other hand, Chevron (NYS: CVX) gave up ground, falling about 0.5% in mid-afternoon trading. A fire at a company drilling rig off the coast of Nigeria forced 152 people to evacuate, and as of last night, Chevron was still searching for two missing workers from the rig.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Yahoo! and Cisco and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Yahoo!, Cisco, Linear Technology, and Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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