The Stocks Fueling the Dow's Surge

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The market is on a tear this afternoon with all three major indexes shooting higher throughout the day. The big news powering the surge is favorable global manufacturing data and the welcome news that the U.S. is still growing.

The index of the U.S. manufacturing sector rose in January to the highest point in seven months. China's and Germany's manufacturing output also recorded gains for the period.

Here is a look at where the markets sit now:

 Index

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) + 115.57+0.91%12,748.48
Nasdaq+ 35.27+1.25%2,849
S&P 500+14.33+1.091,326

The movers and shakers
Bank of America
(NYS: BAC) launched out of the gate in early trading and with a 4% gain earlier in the day. Many banks, including Wells Fargo, are trading noticeably higher today on the news that Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos reported Greece is "one formal step away" from a deal that would avert a costly default. What may be surprising to many is that the finance sector is actually the top-performing space in January, with Bank of America up more than 30% from a month ago. Could Fool Anand Chokkavelu be right when he said Bank of America could be the Dow's biggest winner in 2012?

Computer and printer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) looks poised to take silver in today's biggest gainer race. The company received good news on Monday when a court rejected Oracle's (NAS: ORCL) bid to unwind a contract it held with Hewlett-Packard. Oracle claimed it was duped into settling a disagreement over the firm's hiring of Hewlett-Packard's former CEO, Mark Hurd. There were also allegations that Hewlett-Packard was paying Intel (NAS: INTC) $88 million a year to "artificially continue" the lifespan of the titanium chip.

The dismissal is good news for the tech company, which has had a rough year with its revolving-door CEO position and has realized generally weak performance over the past five years. 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for tech stocks, and the tech-biased Nasdaq has already clocked twice the year-to-date gains of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Looking past today
Watching the market whipsaw each day can be fun, and hazardous to your health. Here at The Motley Fool, we advocate buying and holding great companies for the long term.

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At the time this article was published Austin Smith owns shares of Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Intel, Oracle, and Wells Fargo. The Fool owns shares of and has created a covered strangle position on Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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