After falling in morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) managed to rebound into positive territory after upbeat reports out of Europe that Spain would seek a bailout for its banks. European finance ministers will hold a conference call on Saturday that will shed more light on the issue, but clearly investors are optimistic that one of the major uncertainties concerning the European economy could be addressed.
President Obama also sounded off on the economy and Europe today, saying that it is in "everybody's interest for Greece to remain in the eurozone," and that "there are solutions" to the European economic problems. Overall, it's been a good week for markets; the Dow is on track to gain over 3% on the week.
Turning to individual stocks, Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) is the Dow's biggest gainer as of early afternoon trading, rising over 3%. The company has been able to shake off recent Mexican bribery allegations and hit a 52-week high. Wal-Mart has also seen an uptick in sales from shoppers purchasing items online and paying at a store for the purchase within 48 hours. It's a good way for Wal-Mart to further monetize its high proportion of customers that pay with cash.
Home Depot (NYS: HD) and Intel (NYS: INTC) are two other winners so far, both up over 1% in afternoon trading. The two blue chip companies have also outperformed the Dow in 2012, rising 24% and 9%, respectively, versus 2% for the Dow.
McDonald's (NYS: MCD) is one of the few Dow stocks in the red today after announcing disappointing May sales. Sales at global stores open at least 13 months rose 3.3% in May, lower than analyst expectations of around 5%. Sales fell in both Japan and China as demand weakened. McDonalds is continuing its expansion in the Middle Kingdom, but is encountering competition from Yum! Brands chains and slowing economic growth in the country.
The big picture
After May became the Dow's worst month in two years, it can be tempting to run far away from the market. But that can also be one of the worst mistakes long-term investors can make. The most successful stock picks are often great businesses purchased at attractive prices during dips in the market that grow over many years. Our chief investment officer has uncovered one such great company in our new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. You can get instant access to the name of this company -- it's absolutely free.
At the time thisarticle was published Brendan Byrnes owns no shares of any company mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Intel, McDonald's, and Home Depot. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.
Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.