3 Stocks Fueling Today's Dow Surge

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The market climbed steadily through trading today, with all three indices closing well into the green. The strongest index today was the Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) , which was largely fueled by Apple's (NAS: AAPL) blowout earnings last night. The company posted a ridiculous 73% rise in top-line revenue, managed to skate past last year's already impressive gross margins, and posted a $118% gain in net income.

Here is a look at how the broad markets fared.

Index

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) 82.640.65%12,758
Nasdaq31.671.142,818
S&P 50011.390.871,326

The stars
Apple wasn't the only company that wanted to push an index higher, though. DuPont (NYS: DD) , Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , and Alcoa all recorded sizable gains that pulled the Dow higher.

  • DuPont rallied for a 2.4% gain today. The company announced a 10% decline in fourth-quarter sales volumes and mentioned that demand may not turn around until the second quarter. Even so, the company has had quite a rally in the beginning of 2012 and has posted a 10.5% gain already year to date.
  • Caterpillar was the strongest Dow component today, with a 2.6% win. The company is trading up ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow morning. Analysts expect earnings of $1.73 per share on sales of $16.05 billion, a performance that outpaces last year's fourth-quarter earnings of $1.47. Caterpillar has beat three of the past four quarters, so if history is any indication, tomorrow could be a big day. Despite a weak 2011, Brendan Byrnes thinks 2012 could be a great year for the equipment maker.
  • Alcoa was the first Dow component to report earnings this year and opened the festivities with a fizzle. The company quickly reversed course, though, and is already up 21% this year. Today's 2% pop is a nice addition to the recent streak. Today the company announced that it plans to expand aluminum lithium capacity because of aerospace demand. Look for good things out of this company in 2012.

The best approach
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At the time this article was published Austin Smith owns no shares of the companies mentioned here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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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