It's official, folks: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) skated by previous records to close at multiyear highs today. The index, comprised of 30 blue chip stocks, closed at 12,878 for the day, eclipsing the high water mark set in May 2008.
So what's the fuel pushing the index higher? Greece. Though the debate about Greek debt seems stuck in a Mobius strip of never-ending back and forth, there seems to be just a little progress today as Greece made process to secure international aid.
An amazing 28 of the Dow's 30 components rode the wave of enthusiasm to close higher today, with 19 of them gaining 1% or more. You'd think with the tech-heavy Nasdaq hitting decade-plus highs that it'd be tech companies fueling all the enthusiasm today, but actually it was consumer goods and financials.
All of the indices opened sharply lower this morning on continued concerns about the eurozone's debt situation. At today's European summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to discuss the Greek situation. Her stated reason was that the parties responsible for overseeing the Greek bailout package are still engaged in discussion with bondholders, banks, and the Greek government.
Determined not to let Europe's woes sour the day too badly, though, stocks fought back to smaller losses and closed the day moderately in the red.
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI )
All things considered, it's no surprise that Bank of America (NYS: BAC) was today's biggest Dow loser, falling 3% for the day: Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating from buy to neutral. Despite today's woes, however, the company is still the Dow's best performing stock for the year, climbing an impressive 27% for 2012 alone. My fellow Fool Anand Chokkavelu believes they've still got room to run and thinks Bank of America could be the Dow's biggest winner of 2012.
What to watch
Tomorrow, investors will be eagerly awaiting earnings from Pfizer (NYS: PFE) and Exxon Mobil (NYS: XOM) . Pfizer releases at 10:00 am tomorrow and Exxon releases an hour later. Analysts are expecting $0.47 per share out of Pfizer, exactly what they produced in the same quarter last year. Exxon is expected to report earnings of $1.95 per share, $0.10 above last year's earnings of $1.85.
Pfizer faces certain difficulties coming off its Lipitor patent. The drug has been a cash cow for them over the years, and the company has decided to sell the drug at generic prices to combat the certain flurry of imitation drugs once the patent expires.
Expectations for Exxon are positive, though some doubt has been thrown into the wind after Chevron (NYS: CVX) missed estimates on weak refinery operations. Companies in this space tend to swing in tangent to each other, so don't be surprised if Exxon shows a little weakness tomorrow.
Foolish bottom line
The Greek debt situation is moving the Dow today, and with it being earnings season, there are plenty of companies out there that investors need to watch since they could move the markets. In the Fool's "Fourth-Quarter Earnings Report: 7 Stocks You'll Want to Watch," you'll find information on the latest quarter's possible big performers. It's completely free for our readers, so click here to access your report today.
At the time thisarticle was published Austin Smith owns shares of Pfizer. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron and Pfizer. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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