Dow Breaks Losing Streak, Treads Water

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) got off to a roaring start this morning, popping 75 points by 10 a.m. Buying was largely driven by new data putting consumer confidence at the highest levels in more than five years.

The surge was short-lived though, and the index quickly came back down to earth, trading below its open for much of the day, until finally settling for a modest two point gain. It was the first daily advance of the week for the Dow, which has had a horrendous five days after ending last Friday at 13,610, its highest close of the year. The index fell 2.1% for the week, as earnings were generally underwhelming.

Helping to keep the index positive today was Boeing (NYS: BA) , which led the Dow with gains of more than 1.5%. It was boosted by news that it had received a $5 billion purchase order from Alaska Air (NYS: ALK) for 50 new planes. That, on top of a previously announced $2 billion contract this week, gave investors confidence in the company.

Bank of America (NYS: BAC) was the biggest laggard of the day, falling 2.25%, as financials tempered the Dow's gains upon some renewed concern about the looming fiscal cliff. Investors will look to the bank's earnings report next Wednesday to see how the company is handling its rocky recovery.

AT&T (NYS: T) and Verizon Communications (NYS: VZ) continued to reel from the news that broke yesterday about rival Sprint's (NYS: S) possible acquisition by Japan's Softbank. AT&T tumbled over 1.5%, while Verizon lost just over 1%.

Next week investors will continue to take the pulse of the economy through quarterly results, as American behemoths like General Electric (NYS: GE) , Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) , and Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) report.

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