Financial Stocks Help Float the Dow Higher

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on a roll this morning, up nearly 70 points by late morning, following some mixed economic news.

The Institute for Supply Management released its take on the economy today, showing that October has continued the uptick in economic activity noted over the previous four months. Overall, the ISM notes that the economy has been growing steadily for 53 months in a row. Of 18 sectors, 14 reported decent growth, though remarks were mixed on whether the early October government shutdown affected the business climate.

Markit announced its report on U.S. manufacturing earlier this morning, noting that the Purchasing Managers' Index showed a slower rate of growth in October compared to the year prior. One bright spot appeared to be employment in the manufacturing sector, which shifted upward a bit, perhaps indicating that October's slowdown is seen as temporary.

Financials flying high
Financial stocks are more than holding their own so far today, and even the big banks are looking good, despite all their ongoing legal problems. For JPMorgan Chase , today is a good day, and the stock has climbed more than 1% this morning. Goldman Sachs is also in the green, up by more than 0.3%.

For both banks, the overwhelming interest in the initial public offering of Twitter stock may be giving them a boost. Bloomberg reports that initial whispers have indicated that the social media titan's shares will be snapped up quickly, particularly at the stated $17 to $20 per-share offering price. While both banks are involved with the underwriting of the IPO, Goldman Sachs will take away the biggest slice of the payday pie, at more than 38%, compared with JPMorgan Chase's 15%.

Alas, not all the news regarding JPMorgan is good -- although some new scrutiny of its global hiring practices doesn't seem to be bothering investors at the moment.

The bank said in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the Department of Justice has joined the SEC in a probe of its hiring and currency trading activities in Hong Kong, as regulators press on with their investigation of foreign exchange rate manipulation by large U.S. banks. Also revealed is the filing that claims against the bank for low-quality mortgage bonds were in the neighborhood of $117 billion, something that investors might find distressing once the information is digested fully.

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Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Goldman Sachs. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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