Why the Dow's Starting April Right

After a blockbuster first quarter, April got off to a roaring start as stocks jumped. Many analysts cited positive economic data from China and the U.S. as driving gains, but another factor is likely the regular influx of money that investors put to work in stocks each month. At around 2:45 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were up 74 points to 13,286, while the S&P 500 rose 13 points to 1,421. Both measures now stand at multiyear highs.

Among Dow stocks, Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) rose 0.7%. With news of Coty's buyout offer for Avon Products and Avon's quick rejection of the takeover, speculation has arisen about whether P&G could be a potential buyer for Avon if Coty decides to make a hostile bid for Avon. Although the business models of the two companies are vastly different, P&G and Avon both share exposure to emerging markets and the huge growth potential they carry.

General Electric (NYS: GE) was up a penny on news that it bought a majority stake in a wind farm in Oklahoma. The project, which an Italian company is building, will produce power that a subsidiary of utility Southern (NYS: SO) will buy under a long-term contract. The move is just the latest example of GE's attempt to make renewable energy a sizable portion of its overall operations.

Finally, IBM (NYS: IBM) rose about a quarter-percent after announcing that it once again led its competitors with the highest market share in the application infrastructure and middleware market. With the company having been at the top of the industry for 11 years straight, the feat is just one component of IBM's overall strategy to build an all-encompassing array of products and services to provide one-stop shopping to IT clients.

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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. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble and Southern. 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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