Why the Dow Surged This Week

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For the third straight week, the market is up. The Dow (INDEX: ^DJI) rose 2.4% while the broader S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) and Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) rose 2.0% and 2.8%.

And now that earnings season is in full swing, we can point to actual company actions for driving the stock market rather than vague musings on Europe, unemployment, or "the January Effect."

All 30 stocks in the Dow were up this week, but tech and banking dominated. The top seven gainers were in those two sectors:

Company

Weekly Stock Price Move

Bank of America (NYS: BAC) 7.0%
Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) 6.2%
IBM5.2%
Microsoft5.2%
Intel4.9%
Cisco4.5%
JPMorgan Chase4.0%

Of these, Bank of America, IBM, Microsoft, and Intel all reported this week - on Thursday, to be precise. Click on the links to get the rundowns.

In banking, generally favorable reports from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley  gave hope to a beaten-down sector. Keep in mind that these reports weren't especially strong on an absolute basis. Rather, any decent news in banking sends shares skyward because expectations are so low. Nowhere is this more true than Bank of America. Hence its Dow-leading position this week.

Meanwhile, in tech, the company-specific good news at IBM, Microsoft, and Intel drowned out the market's poor reaction to non-Dow techie Google's earnings (Google was down 6.2% this week). We see that in Hewlett-Packard, whose business model is more tied to the fates of IBM, Microsoft, and Intel than it is to Google. 

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At the time this article was published Anand Chokkaveluowns shares of JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Bank of America, and Cisco Systems, warrants on JPMorgan Chase, and long-dated options on Bank of America. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Intel, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Cisco Systems, International Business Machines, and Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google, Cisco Systems, Intel, Microsoft, and The Goldman Sachs Group.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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