Early this morning, it looked as though Dow 13,000 might be a thing of the past, as the stock market fell sharply after a troubling meeting of international financial leaders in Mexico City that highlighted the continuing challenges of the European sovereign-debt crisis. But the market rebounded after solid pending home-sales data combined with a drop in oil prices helped support stocks. Nevertheless, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) lost another battle with 13,000 today, finishing the day down a single point at 12,982.
Let's take a look at some of the stocks that did their best to push the Dow higher today.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) , up 2%
Good economic news has been a big positive for bank stocks lately. But part of what's moving JPMorgan today is actually criticism of the Wall Street bank.
An analyst note last week suggested that JPMorgan would be worth more to investors if the bank broke up -- as much as a third more. By selling its asset-management business, the analyst argued, the company could use freed-up cash to fund share repurchases that would raise the share price. That may be true, but I wouldn't expect CEO Jamie Dimon to be in a hurry to make such a huge strategic shift.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , up 2.2%
Like JPMorgan, B of A has its finger on the pulse of the U.S. economy. But the company also had company-specific news of its own.
A federal appeals court chose to send a proposed mortgage-bond settlement between B of A and bond trustee Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK ) back to state court for consideration. The move thwarts bond investors who had argued that big players got preferential treatment in the settlement while smaller investors were left out of negotiations. The faster B of A can get out of courtrooms around the country and get the fallout from the financial crisis behind it, the better off B of A shareholders will be.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) , up 1.6%
Card giant AmEx has long stood out from the crowd with its charge cards. But in its annual report filing with the SEC Friday, AmEx said that federal and state regulators are likely to look at its cards to see whether its late-fee policies are consistent with consumer-protection laws.
The filing said that the FDIC has been working with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Although some AmEx cards don't allow customers to carry a balance, others do -- and because those are issued by Centurion Bank, the FDIC and state regulators have authority to look into the matter. Any refunds or fines aren't likely to be significant, but a bad result could weigh on AmEx's reputation going forward.
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