Everyone's paying attention to see whether the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) will finally close above 13,000 for the first time in four years. At around 1:45 p.m. EST, the Dow was hanging just below that level, rising just three points to 12,988. The slight move up comes despite some worries about falling new-home sales and rising gasoline prices.
Among Dow stocks, American Express (NYS: AXP) climbed by nearly 1%. The company didn't come out with any news today, but it did file its 2011 annual report with the SEC. A quick glance at the year shows some promising numbers, with net income up 22% to $4.9 billion and continuing strong returns on equity. As credit performance has improved, a rising economy has also led to increases in spending. Yet as Fool blogger Christopher French reminds us, AmEx got its last antitrust settlement payments from competitors Visa (NYS: V) and MasterCard in 2011, and so it will need to face the two card-network giants on a more even playing field going forward.
United Technologies (NYS: UTX) also climbed about 1%. Fool industrials analyst Brendan Byrnes discussed the company today, highlighting its exposure to emerging markets. Some have big concerns about United Tech's defense business, but commercial aviation is a fast-growing segment with plenty of future potential -- potential that the company's buyout of Goodrich should build on.
Finally, Chevron (NYS: CVX) rose about 0.7%. Oil prices are on the rise once more, but the company also said yesterday that it was considering building an ethylene plant through its joint venture with ConocoPhillips to take advantage of plentiful shale gas.
Dow stocks can make good investments, but they aren't necessarily your best bet. To learn about the one stock the Fool's chief investment officer picked to crush the market, check out this free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." Instant access is just a click away.
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 MasterCard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron and Visa, as well as writing a covered strangle position in American Express. 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.
Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.