Why the Dow's Pushing Higher Today

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The stock market reacted favorably to yet another good employment report this morning. Not only did the Bureau of Labor Statistics report 227,000 new jobs in February, but it also revised upward numbers from the previous two months. Meanwhile, reports that Greece has finally gotten its much-needed haircut on its sovereign debt obligations helped boost stocks both in the U.S. and in Europe. At around 10:45 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were up 56 points to 12,964. Overseas, London's FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) rose about 0.6%.

Alcoa (NYS: AA) was up about 2% in early trading today. The positive news in the U.S. and Europe certainly bolstered the stock, but the company's announcement yesterday that it has found three potential investors to buy its Italian aluminum smelting plant was also good news. With Alcoa having shut the plant and cut output at two smelters in Spain, divesting the asset would give the company valuable cash -- although it could also potentially cause a bigger production glut if the buyers bring the plant back online, as the Italian government and labor unions want to do.

JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) also rose sharply, with a gain of almost 2%. In addition to its benefiting from the favorable news, JPMorgan's stock also responded favorably to an initial buy recommendation from analyst firm Guggenheim. The analyst set a price target nearly 25% above the stock's closing price last night.

Finally, General Electric (NYS: GE) gained about 0.3% despite projecting weaker growth in revenue coming from the Southeast Asian region in 2012. A GE executive said that 30% growth was not sustainable but that the company would continue to find substantial revenue growth from the region.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.

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