Dow Rockets 111 Points Higher: What Fueled the Gains


A buoyant housing market drove Wall Street higher today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average brushed off Monday's Cyprus fears and bounced back to close at a fresh record-high close. The improving real estate market, combined with encouraging domestic manufacturing figures, was enough to spur a 111-point, or 0.77%, gain, as the Dow ended at 14,559.

Luckily enough for Intel , those encouraging manufacturing figures included a nearly 5% rise in computer orders -- a welcome surprise for Intel investors, who've been lamenting the death of the PC as the mobile and tablet markets gobble up computer sales. Adding 2.9% to lead the index, the chipmaker also caused some waves of excitement on news that it was in talks to buy rights to TV shows in a bid to launch an Internet-based programming service to rival traditional cable.

Bank of America fell 1%, logging a second straight day as the worst-performing Dow component. While some of the downward momentum could have been sustained from yesterday's European worries, an additional blow came from Capitol Hill today, as the Senate voted unanimously to impose a "surcharge" on the nation's biggest banks. Though not a direct charge, the bill requires massive financials to hold more capital on their balance sheets, restricting their ability to leverage profits -- and losses!

Benefiting from an upgrade, Netflix ended the day as one of the highest fliers, surging 5.4% as a Pacific Crest analyst boosted his price target for the stock to $225 from $160, representing an 18% jump from today's close. The analyst cited Netflix's superior data, saying that the company "has more data on viewing behavior than any other premium video service." In short, if Netflix notices you're watching Lassie all day and night, it'll keep its eyes open for other heroic canine programming.

But even Netflix's rise couldn't match that of RF Micro Devices , as shares soared 6.9% after a glowing analyst upgrade of its own. With a $7 price target on the wireless chip maker representing a 33% upside from today's close, the company stands to profit from the Samsung-Apple rivalry, as long as the combined success of those companies continues.

While Netflix's first-mover status is often viewed as a competitive advantage, the opportunities in streaming media have brought some new, deep-pocketed rivals looking for their piece of a growing pie. Now it even looks like Intel wants to wet its beak!

So can Netflix fend off this burgeoning competition, and will its international growth aspirations really pay off? These are must-know issues for investors, which is why The Motley Fool released a brand-new premium report on Netflix. Inside, you'll learn about the key opportunities and risks facing the company, as well as reasons to buy or sell the stock. The report includes a full year of updates to cover critical new developments, so make sure to click here and claim a copy today.

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Fool contributor John Divine owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Intel, and Netflix and owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, Intel, and Netflix. 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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