Why the Dow Soared to Multiyear Highs Today

Investors ended the week on an extremely positive note, as some major market indexes closed at multiyear highs. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) jumped 157 points to finish at 12,862, its highest closing level since May 2008. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite hit levels last seen in late 2000, closing up 46 points to 2,906. The S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) finished up 19 points to 1,345. It's the lone holdout among the three major indices, missing its own multiyear highs by closing just shy of its high levels from last July.

Bonds, on the other hand, finished broadly lower in price, pushing yields higher. The 10-year Treasury yield (INDEX: ^TNX  ) soared more than a 0.1% to 1.93%, as the positive jobs report and other good economic news boosted overall expectations of economic growth and suggested a possible end to the low-interest-rate environment that we've been mired in for years.

In general, the Dow acted as a microcosm for the entire stock market. Economically sensitive stocks rose, while many defensive stocks didn't do nearly as well.

For instance, Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) gained more than 3%, as hopes for a recovery stoked optimism that the slide in prices in the aluminum market over the past year might finally reverse course and start to show gains. Similarly, financials Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) both posted strong performance with the expectation that as economic activity picks up, a steeper yield curve should boost net interest income and make them more profitable.

Meanwhile, a renewed bull market seems to have investors moving out of safer stocks. Procter & Gamble was the big decliner for the Dow today, but looking beyond P&G, you'll also find Johnson & Johnson and Wal-Mart posting minimal gains. These stocks may provide some protection in down markets, but the tradeoff is that they often miss out on big bull moves like the ones we've seen today.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart, JPMorgan Chase, and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble, as well as creating diagonal call positions in Wal-Mart and Johnson & Johnson. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.


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