Why The Dow Jumped Today

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) jumped today as manufacturing data from around the world showed growth and ADP released data showing private-sector jobs growing by 170,000 in January.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average+83.55 [0.66%]12716.46
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +11.68 [0.89%]1324.09

Manufacturing data in Europe and China was better than expected and the Institute for Supply Managements U.S. manufacturing index rose to an eight-month high. On the jobs front, ADP reported that nonfarm private employment rose 170,000 in January. Dropping unemployment is a good sign for the economy.

Top stock
Bank of America  (NYS: BAC) was today's top stock, up 3.23% to $7.36. Two weeks ago, Bank of America reported better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter, ending the year with positive earnings. While the stock has been moving up and down with the status of the Greek debt talks, investors should be most interested in the $25 billion settlement that Bank of America and other lenders are trying to enter into with states over their mortgage-servicing practices.

The biggest loser
One of just three down Dow components today, McDonald's (NYS: MCD) was today's worst stock, down $0.66% to $98.40. After a banner year in 2011 some investors may be taking profits on the stock, Fool analyst Jim Royal believes McDonald's is still a must-own stock.

The best approach
Watching the broad market each day is exciting, but investing doesn't have to be gut-wrenching and stressful. If you're in the mood to pick up a great company to buy for the long term, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It features a company hand-selected by the Fool's chief investment officer that has a strong future ahead of it. Get access to the report and find out the name of this legendary company. The report is free, but it won't be forever, so check it out today.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorDan Dzombakowns shares of Bank of America, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of McDonald's. 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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