Top Dow Stocks of the Day

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

After a number of economic data points were released this morning, the major indexes had a wonderful day and gained back the majority of what they had lost during the first four trading days this past week. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 198 points, or 1.26%, while the S&P 500 finished the session up 1.12% and the Nasdaq increased by 0.73% and actually managed to be the only one of the three to finish the first week of December in the green.

The major economic reports that caused those moves were the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index, which rose from 75.1 in November to a preliminary December reading of 82.5; the unemployment rate, which fell to 7% in November from 7.3% in October; and the big one that caused the unemployment rate to fall, the jobs report for November, which indicated that 203,000 new positions were created in November, up from the 200,000 in October and much higher than the 180,000 economist had predicted. Furthermore, while these numbers were good, they weren't quite great, causing many investors to speculate that the Federal Reserve would not yet begin tapering at its December 17-18 meeting. Hence, good news all around and stocks rallied while bonds remained rather flat for the session.

With all the positive feelings floating around not a single one of the Dow's 30 components ended today's session in the red, which is not something that happens very often. Let's take a moment to look at the big winners of the day and why they outshined the competition.

Shares of Boeing soared by 1.85% after Reuters reported that Air Canada was close to deciding whether to buy 60 of Boeings 737 Max's or the same number of planes from Airbus. Additionally, this week we have seen a number of different states begin to offer the company incentives to open a new factory inside their borders. These offers are certainly very enticing and could help it better control its costs for years to come.  

Intel , which was the Dow's biggest gainer of the day, rose 2.31%. The move came after shares were upgraded at Citigroup from neutral to buy. The analyst believes that PC demand will stabilize in 2014 and that when it does, Intel's share price will benefit. The company gave guidance based on weakening demand for PCs in 2014, so if computer sales simply stop declining, the company will do better than expected. But as a number of my Foolish colleagues have pointed out today, Intel investors should be focusing more on what the company is doing in the mobile market, not how PCs are performing because that is where the real growth will be coming from in the future.  

Another big Dow technology stock that realized large gains today was Cisco . The stock rose 1.77% and, despite being one of the worst Dow performers of the year, was one of its best stocks today. Shares of the tech company are only up 8.3% year to date while the Dow itself has risen 22.25% in 2013. Furthermore, or perhaps because of the poor performance in 2013, analysts at Merrill Lynch put the stock on their list of top 10 stocks for 2014. The firm believes that although Cisco gave poor guidance for the coming year, it is a solid dividend grower in addition to its current 3.2% dividend yield and it has the ability to increase its global sales in the future.  

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Intel. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what causing the big market movers of the day and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. It recommends and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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