Why the Dow's Celebrating Today

Additional good news from an apparent compromise in Congress to extend the payroll-tax cut into 2012 had the stock market celebrating today. At 1:30 p.m. ET, the Dow (INDEX: ^DJI) was up 91 points to 12,261, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) rose 8 points to 1,262. If the move holds up, it would put the S&P into positive territory for the year.

As it did yesterday, Bank of America (NYS: BAC) once again appeared at the top of the list of gainers, rising about 1.7%. A Reuters report suggested that despite the bank's attempts to raise capital, it will need to consider even more asset sales in order to keep up with competitors and comply with new capital rules slated to take effect over the next decade.

Disney (NYS: DIS) and Verizon (NYS: VZ) also performed well, each rising about 1.5% in mid-afternoon trading. Disney has had a mixed 2011, with lackluster reception for its films and a rare earnings miss early in the year. Meanwhile, Verizon is seeing strength in activations of Apple (NAS: AAPL) iPhones, despite analyst concerns that those sales will hit margins and hurt earnings.

Alcoa (NYS: AA) topped the losers list, falling 0.7% and extending its huge losses for the year. Despite a cheap valuation, the aluminum producer faces some serious challenges in its future, with automakers and aircraft companies looking to replace aluminum with carbon fiber composites and plastic.

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At the time thisarticle 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, Bank of America, and Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola. 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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