The Dow Roars Past 13,000


It's at 13,000 and counting! That's right, the Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI) has high-jumped the 13,000-point mark today, returning to heights not seen since early May. The Dow is up for the third straight day on more reassurance coming from European leaders. Yesterday the markets were buoyed by guarantees from the European Central Bank to step in and ease capital liquidity if debt worries continued to rise. Today the ECB was backed by the top politicians in the eurozone, who stating their willingness to help the markets stage a rally in an attempt to drive economic growth and decrease unemployment. Equity indexes soared throughout Europe and, more importantly, sovereign debt yields decreased significantly, with Spain's 10-year yield trading almost a full percent lower than last week.

The eurozone optimism helped the broad markets in the United States climb higher despite confirmation that the U.S. economy is sputtering. The Commerce Department released second-quarter figures showing the GDP growth rate plummeted to a dismal 1.5%, down from 2% in the first quarter and 4.1% in the final quarter of 2011. On top of that, consumer sentiment plunged to its lowest level of the year, with high unemployment the biggest cause for worry. Consumers are uncertain of the future, holding off on purchasing big-ticket items while increasing individual savings.

Today's market recap



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Source: Yahoo! Finance as of 2:30 p.m. EDT.

Dow component Chevron (NYS: CVX) is up 0.86% despite reporting a 7% drop in net income during the second quarter. Like other oil players, the company was filleted by decreasing North American natural gas prices and the 20% haircut in crude prices over the last quarter. Although profits were down, Chevron beat analyst expectations, with refining margins increasing significantly, leading to an 80% increase of downstream profits. Merck (NYS: MRK) is up 2.28% after reporting earnings per share of $1.05, $0.04 greater than expected.

Arch Coal (NYS: ACI) has had one tough year, but today brought relief to the battered company after reporting second-quarter numbers that beat Wall Street's expectations. Arch Coal reported losses for last quarter, citing weaker-than-anticipated shipments and rising costs, but revenue grew faster than expected, leading to a 27.38% gain on the day. Another battered company on the brink of collapse is ATP Oil & Gas (NAS: ATPG) . The offshore exploration company is down 32% on the day after the company's bondholders organized a group to represent their interests in a possible restructuring. The company has $1.5 billion payment at just under 12% interest coming due in 2015, and with continued delays and missed output quotes, the company's solvency is far from certain.

Today Europe's political elite decided to back the ECB, declaring that they'll do whatever is necessary to keep the euro together. However, the debt situation still hangs in the balance. Investors need to continually search for excellent investments that will provide strong and secure returns. The Motley Fool has assembled a list of nine rock-solid dividend stocks every investor needs to be familiar with. This report is absolutely free, so be sure to get your copy today!

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