The Dow Holds Firm

It was unlikely the markets would top yesterday's big gains that saw all three major indexes up over 1.5% by the close of business; wowever, the lack of real retracement on a relatively light news day is a positive sign that the bulls are holding firm. Here's how the indexes finished the trading session:

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)




Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC)




S&P 500




Source: Yahoo! Finance.

The three indexes put in mixed but essentially flat performances. The Dow showed the most resilience thanks to the strong performance of several financial components. Yesterday's stress test results yielded big 6% and 7% pops for JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) and Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , and the good news continued today. Bank of America gained an additional 4%, leading all Dow components, while American Express (NYS: AXP) wasn't far behind, with a 3.5% increase. Financials led us into this crisis and lending remains depressed, but if credit markets open up as the recovery continues to appear to be taking hold, we could be at the start of a virtuous cycle.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq also held on to yesterday's gains, helped by Apple (NAS: AAPL) . The world's largest company was the most active on the index: 50 million shares exchanged hands as it continues its 2012 run that has seen it gain 46% so far this year. Apple popped 3.8% after a Morgan Stanley analyst put a base-case share-price target of $720, with a bull case at a whopping $960. Some are starting to voice concern that the stock has risen too far, too fast, but with consumers frothing for the new iPad's release just days away, Apple's string of hits doesn't seem likely to be in jeopardy any time soon.

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At the time thisarticle was published David Williamsonholds no position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple; creating a bull call spread position in Apple; and creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. 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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