Finally, the Dow Gets a European Lift

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U.S. equity markets are trading broadly higher today after a strong trading session in overseas markets. The primary news driving investor enthusiasm is European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's statements indicating that policymakers are prepared to take coordinated action to support the European economy. Fears of a protracted European recession have weighed on U.S. stocks for weeks, and in response all 30 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) are up on the day. Here's a snapshot of how the major domestic indexes were faring in the past hour.

Index

Gain/Loss

Gain/Loss %

Intraday Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average 169.7 1.4% 12,297
Nasdaq 51.9 1.9% 2,830
S&P 500 19.2 1.5% 1,304

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Leading the Dow is Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , whose shares are up over 5% in morning trading. The rally follows an announcement yesterday that the company sold mortgage servicing rights on more than $10 billion in assets, furthering the company's continuing efforts to focus on core banking operations.

Shares of Home Depot (NYS: HD) are also trading higher, up more than 2% following a company news release confirming full-year guidance and updating longer-term goals. Specifically, the home improvement retailer is now targeting operating margins of 12% by fiscal 2015. The company's operating margin was 9.7% in the past 12 months, with its best operating margin in recent history being 11.9% in 2006. Additionally, the company increased its 2012 share repurchase expectations by $500 million to $4 billion. Expect more information on the company's plans to hit the headlines later today following the conclusion of its investor day.


Drug company Merck (NYS: MRK) is also making headlines today after its application for bone cancer drug ridaforlimus was temporarily rejected by the FDA. The news isn't all that bad for Merck and partner Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NAS: ARIA) , and the drug can still receive approval following additional clinical trials. The rejection was largely expected by investors, with the real opportunity for Ariad being upcoming leukemia drug ponatinib, which may be on the market this time next year and is expected to be a breakthrough drug for the company. Shares in both companies are reacting with a yawn, as both Merck and Ariad are trading higher on the day.

As I mentioned in my Monday market preview, you can never discount the positive impact of government stimulus. Today's trading is a great reminder of that, and the best investors understand the opportunity difficult times can present. While the recent sell-off has been scary, removing emotion from your decisions is one of the keys to successful investing. In this special free report we highlight other habits investors can use to build long-term wealth. In addition, we introduce three companies we believe make a perfect addition to a smart retirement portfolio. This limited-time report is titled "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," and you can grab a free copy today by clicking here.

At the time this article was published At the time of this writing Brenton Flynn owned no shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Home Depot. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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