Why the Dow Jumped Today

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) rose today as a key piece of the Greek bailout was completed.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average+70.61 [+0.55%]12,907.94
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +13.28 [+0.98%]1,365.91

The market had been down earlier in the week over concerns that the Greek debt swap wouldn't be completed by today's deadline. A bailout was needed so Greece could avoid defaulting on 14 billion euros in bonds due March 20. If conditions in Greece and the rest of Europe worsened, the U.S. would probably also experience a slowdown. Greece needed 66% of its bondholders to agree to the swap, and this morning it was announced that more than 75% of investors eligible for the Greek debt swap had agreed to participate.

Instead of letting the Greek government default, investors holding a total of roughly 200 billion euros of Greek bonds are being offered a package worth 46.5% of the face value of their bonds. Of the 46.5%, 15% will be swapped for two-year bonds. The other 31.5% will be new long-term Greek bonds with riders that increase the payout if the Greek economy outperforms expectations. The Greek government needed at least 66% of bondholders to agree to the swap. As long as it met that threshold, the Greek government was able to require the remaining holdouts to agree to the swap. At 75% participation, the debt swap should be successful.

Top winner
With the good news from Greece, Alcoa (NYS: AA) was today's top performer, finishing up 2.3% to $9.77. Alcoa is a cyclical business, highly dependent on GDP growth for profitability. The company would have been significantly hurt if the Greek debt deal didn't go through, as 20% of its business is in Europe. Things are looking up for Alcoa, and Fool analyst Sean Williams thinks it will outperform the market over the next few years.

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At the time this article was published Dan Dzombakholds no position in any company mentioned.Like his Facebook pageto follow his investing articles. 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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