The Markets Hit Another Big-Time High Today

The broad markets extended their rally yet again today, with all three of the major market indexes producing solid gains during the trading day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) gained the least, rising 58.6 points on the day, which was a still-respectable 0.44% jump. The Dow has now tallied seven consecutive gains and risen 8.5% thus far in 2012. It now sits at its highest point of the year. The tech-heavy NASDAQ rose 5.1%, to 3,056, and the S&P 500 rose 0.6% percent, closing at 1,402. Today marks the first time the S&P closed above the 1,400 barrier in almost four years. Every sector in the market turned in positive performances, with conglomerates, financials, and transportation all posting gains above 1%.

Several Dow stocks posted strong individual performances as well. Bank of America (NYS: BAC) and JP Morgan Chase (NYS: JPM) posted impressive gains, popping 4.5% and 2.6%, respectively. General enthusiasm about the recent positive banking stress tests has sent these stocks on an absolute tear this week, adding to their already-impressive appreciation since the start of 2012. After dreadful performances last year, the two stocks are up 66.2% and 33.4% so far this year.

Elsewhere on the Dow, industrial stalwart General Electric (NYS: GE) gained 1.9%. GE deepened its push into the energy sector, announcing its purchase a 30.6% stake in Howard Energy Partners for an undisclosed amount. Howard plans to use the additional capital to double the size of its 280-mile pipeline near Texas' Eagle Ford shale area. Such investments epitomize GE's strategic shift moving out of the financial crisis to re-center its business increasingly around energy and infrastructure dominance, and to reduce the scope of its financial services arm, GE Capital.

On the flip side, networking juggernaut Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) ended the day firmly in the red as the market reacted negatively to its announced acquisition of video software firm NDS Group for a whopping $5 billion dollars. The stock fell 1.4% in reaction to the acquisition news.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Andrew Tonner held no financial position in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, and Cisco Systems.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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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