Why the Dow Gained for the Third Straight Day

Today was a solid day for the market with all three major indices closing in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was up 0.51%, while the S&P (INDEX: ^GSPC) and Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) both gained 0.83%.

Good news times 3
We saw three positive economic reports today that helped push the markets higher.

  • The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 4,000 to 364,000 last week, the lowest number since April 2008.
  • The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators increased for the seventh straight month in November.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment climbed to a six-month high.

There was some disappointing news today, though, as the Commerce Department revised its estimate of third-quarter U.S. economic growth down to 1.8%, below the 2% that economists were expecting. But in the end, that news was overshadowed by the positive economic numbers we saw.

Winners for the day included Tibco (NAS: TIBX) and Micron Technology (NAS: MU) . Tibco was up 8% on the day after its fourth-quarter profits and revenues beat expectations. The company also forecasted 2012 first-quarter revenue above analyst estimates.

Micron Technology, meanwhile, shot up 15.7% despite a wider-than-expected quarterly loss. Investors focused on the positive news of a possible rebound in memory-chip demand and prices.

As for the Dow, the financials sector was far and away the best performing. Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase ended the day up 4.6% and 3.5%, respectively. Industrials heavyweight General Electric rounded out the top three, gaining 3% on the day.

On the other side of the coin, consumer staples made up the Dow's weakest group. Coca-Cola and McDonald's (NYS: MCD) both lost 0.6%, and Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) ended the day down 0.3%.

Tibco and Micron Technology both handily outperformed the market today, but if you're interested in the one stock that our chief investment officer picked to crush the market for all of 2012, check out our brand new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. You can get instant access to the name of this company by clicking here -- it's absolutely free.

At the time this article was published Brendan Byrnes owns no shares of any company mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola, JPMorgan Chase, Wal-Mart Stores, and Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Tibco Software, Wal-Mart Stores, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola and creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. 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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