Why the Dow Gained Ground Today

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After starting out negative, the Dow rallied after lunch. Here's how the three major indexes fared today.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) +83.10 [+0.66%]12,758.85
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) +31.67 [1.14%]2,818.31
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +11.41 [+0.87%]1,326.06

There were two big storylines that seemed to boost the market today.

The first was Apple's blowout earnings after hours yesterday. Apple itself rose 6.2%, and we can credit it with lifting the tech-heavy Nasdaq higher than the other two indexes today.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve issued its bi-quarterly policy statement today. The big news is the Fed's intention to continue near-zero short-term interest rates to late 2014 (extended from mid-2013). Rightly or wrongly, the prospect of a cheap money train for the next few years boosted the market.

Looking at the Dow itself, 23 of the Dow's 30 stocks were winners today. The leaders were Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , DuPont, Alcoa (NYS: AA) , and Travelers, up 2.6%, 2.4%, 2%, and 2%. DuPont and Travelers reported yesterday before the market opened. DuPont's report was decent, while Travelers didn't fare as well. Read about their earnings.

Caterpillar reports on Thursday morning, before the market opens. We'll see whether today's positivity holds. As for Alcoa, it announced plans to expand its aluminum lithium alloy capacity, including a brand-new $90 million facility in Indiana. The expansion is a response to increased demand from the aerospace sector.

And if you're excited about the prospects of the mobile space that Apple is dominating (selling 37 million iPhones last quarter alone!), read our brand-new free report: "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution."

At the time this article was published Anand Chokkaveluand The Motley Fool own 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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