Why the Dow Flew Out of the Gate This Morning

A lot of people have trouble getting back to work after a long holiday weekend, but the stock market certainly isn't showing any signs of a holiday hangover. Despite all sorts of concerning news, including a slip in consumer confidence, increasingly difficult conditions in Spain, and readings that home prices were unchanged in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) quickly jumped to more than a 150-point advance just before 10:45 a.m. EDT. All 30 Dow stocks were up in morning trade.

The biggest gainer was Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , up more than 4%. As one of the most important Dow components, Caterpillar has a lot of influence on the average, and lately, its movements have been closely tied to economic conditions both in the U.S. and around the world. Although Europe's woes have dampened enthusiasm about the stock, Caterpillar's growth in the mining industry should prove to be instrumental to its long-term prospects.

Chevron (NYS: CVX) also jumped strongly, rising almost 2%. Despite a blowout at a well in California, Chevron's shares have held up even with a recent drop in oil prices. With innovative practices such as its plans to use solar power to produce steam at a Saudi-Kuwaiti oilfield, Chevron is going beyond fossil fuel reliance to take advantage of diverse sources of energy.

Finally, Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) was up almost 2%. Rumors that Facebook (NAS: FB) may try to buy out Opera to establish a Facebook-linked browser might appear to threaten Microsoft's Internet Explorer's leadership position, but the rise of Google's Chrome has already put the writing on the wall for IE. Like it or not, Microsoft will have to go beyond its stable of existing products to grow in the future.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Microsoft, and Chevron, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. 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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