Dow Tops 14,000 Mark As the Bulls Continue to Run


With President Obama's State of the Union address scheduled for tonight, tomorrow will probably be a wild day on Wall Street as investors react to the speech. The chief investment strategist at Raymond James believes that depending on what Obama says, the markets could sell off by 5% to 7% in the coming weeks. But today was the calm before the storm, as the major indexes closed relatively flat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 47 points, or 0.34%, as the S&P 500 added just 0.16%, or 2.43 points, while the Nasdaq fell by 5.51 points, or 0.17%. The Dow closed above the 14,000 mark at 14,018, and all but six of the index's 30 components closed in the green.

This morning I explained why three of the six losers were in the red. To read who they were and why they fell, click here. Or if you'd rather stay on a more positive note, continue reading to find out which stocks closed as the Dow's big winners.

Dow stocks that moved higher
Shares of Bank of America rose 3.29% today, making it the top Dow performer. Not far behind was JPMorgan Chase , which saw its shares rise 0.99% today, making it the sixth best stock in the Dow. As my Fool colleague John Maxfield noted, investors pushed both banks higher after a report from consumer credit company TransUnion estimated that in the fourth quarter, mortgage delinquencies dropped by 14% on a year-over-year basis. While Q4 2012 was far greater than the same time frame in 2011, other promising results in 2012 alone were that the national delinquency rate also fell from 5.41% in the third quarter of 2012 to 5.19% in Q4. As the housing crisis winds down and the banks have a lower number of problem loans remaining, their balance sheets will continue to grow stronger, and share prices should follow suit.

Another Dow component getting love from investors because of the TransUnion report was Home Depot . The stock closed higher by 1.42% today on the positive housing news. The specialty retailer may be tied even more closely to the housing market than the banks and is planning on adding 80,000 new temporary employees in the coming months. The retailer clearly believes housing is improving, because that's a 14% increase over the company's hiring rate in 2012.

Relax; the Fools are here to help
Are you at ease, or nervous? It's been a great five-year run for investors, with the Dow and S&P at or near all-time highs. Yet fears abound. When will the next downturn hit? Will political gridlock lead to portfolio-killing inflation? To learn how to protect your portfolio, click here for free guidance from the Motley Fool Pro Academy!

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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