After a slow start, the stock market extended yesterday's big gains with an impressive follow-through jump today. In some ways, investors seem to want news to be good but not too good, as the prospect of some form of government stimulus has acted as a backstop against major market declines ever since the financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) ended up with a gain of more than 110 points as the broader U.S. market outperformed most of the rest of the world.
So which companies were responsible for the Dow's nice gains? Let's take a look at three winners that lent support to the Dow today.
Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) , up 2.8%
After days of declines related to its Mexican bribery scandal, Wal-Mart finally found itself in the win column today. The company still faces investigations, but an unrelated announcement poses an interesting opportunity for the retailer.
Wal-Mart said today that it will allow customers to make online orders but pay by cash by coming into a retail location. The customer can then choose whether to have the order sent to the store for pickup or shipped for home delivery. The move is an interesting way around the complications when customers don't have credit cards or other popular online payment options, and it could give Wal-Mart an edge over Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) , which obviously lacks a retail presence to accept cash.
Chevron (NYS: CVX) , up 2.3%
Chevron announces its earnings tomorrow morning, but shareholders already got their gift in the form of a higher dividend payment. Yesterday afternoon, the oil giant said it was raising its dividend by 11% to $0.90 per share quarterly.
With the move, the company should qualify to join the Dividend Aristocrats at the end of the year, given its 25 consecutive years of raising its dividend. As long as high energy prices support its massive business, Chevron should have no trouble continuing that streak well into the future.
AT&T (NYS: T) , up 2.2%
A broken deal can leave a bad taste in investors' mouths until it's done and over with. Yesterday afternoon, the FCC gave AT&T the go-ahead to put its failed T-Mobile buyout behind it once and for all.
The FCC approved a transfer of wireless spectrum to T-Mobile, which was part of the agreement that the carrier had with AT&T upon the breakup of its proposed merger. With spectrum becoming an increasingly valuable commodity, AT&T will have to look for ways to obtain a replacement if it wants to keep growing at an optimal pace.
All earnings, all the time
Stay tuned as earnings season continues. And if you want some additional insight, find out about five stocks you should look at before their quarterly announcements to see if you can cash in on their results. But don't delay; accept this special invitation today.
At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Caplingerdoesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him onTwitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron, Wal-Mart, and Amazon.com, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Fool has adisclosure policy.
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