These Stocks Couldn't Quite Push the Dow to New Highs

The Dow Jones Industrials rose 56 points today as investors looked past the European crisis to focus squarely on domestic concerns. With the Federal Reserve leaving its highly accommodative policy stance largely unchanged, investors took the occasion to send stocks broadly higher. As long as economic conditions continue to improve, it appears that the bull-market run for stocks should be able to continue.

Among Dow stocks helping lift the average was Chevron , which rose three-quarters of a percent to hit another new all-time high of its own. The oil giant today announced that it will join up with fellow natural-gas producers as well as environmental groups to create the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, which will set standards for hydraulic fracturing in the eastern United States. Given the concerns that many stakeholders have about the impact of fracking on air and water quality, the move should help Chevron stay ahead of the curve of potential regulation.

General Electric rose 0.6%, in part on speculation that it might decide to spin off its GE Capital division. GE Capital was responsible for the company's near-collapse during the financial crisis, but it has recovered strongly over the past four years. Reports after the bell indicated that GE denied having any plans currently to break up the conglomerate, although CEO Jeffrey Immelt had initially responded to the rumors by saying "never say never."

Finally, outside the Dow, Cobalt International Energy soared 8%. The company is a big beneficiary of what Anadarko Petroleum called a "potentially giant project" today. The good news comes from the Shenandoah-2 test well, which may prove to be the biggest discovery ever in the Gulf of Mexico. But with the well under 5,800 feet of water and drilled to a total depth of nearly 6 miles, it'll be several years before Cobalt, which owns 20% of the well, and Anadarko, which owns 30%, will get any oil from the find. Anadarko climbed nearly 4% on the news.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter: @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and owns shares of General Electric. 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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