Dow Shoots Higher as Confidence Improves

Finally, earnings reports and economic data seem to have markets moving higher. Before the markets opened, Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) , UnitedHealth Group (NYS: UNH) , and Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) reported earnings that were just enough to satisfy the market following some strong results in the first week of earnings. There is also talk in Spain about requesting EU bailout funds. The market seems to jump anytime bailouts are discussed, and today is no different.

Combine all of this with improved sentiment from homebuilders, and the market has cruised higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is up 0.77% in late trading, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) has risen 0.82%.

Coca-Cola was one of the few Dow components that fell today, losing 1.2% after reporting a slight earnings miss. The company may have missed expectations, but volume growth in international markets of 5% is strong, given the weakness in big markets like Europe.

Oil has moved slightly higher in the market today. The commodity has gained 0.2% today as traders consider the supply-demand situation. U.S. and Europe need to show more strength before investors will buy into a full-scale recovery, so oil may be stuck in a holding pattern until demand picks up. On the plus side, the low price of oil will keep the consumer from paying an arm and a leg at the pump.

In less than an hour, IBM (NYS: IBM) and Intel (NAS: INTC) will report earnings and set the tone for tomorrow. Intel has reduced expectations already, and an earnings miss would be terrible for the chip maker. But the stock is one of the biggest gainers in the Dow right now, up 2.1%.

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