These days, all it takes to take investors' minds off the European mess is good news at home. Between good news on the employment front and the announcement of the latest installment of the iPad line, everyone seemed to be in a much happier mood today. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) finished up 78 points, to 12,837, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) bounced 9 points to finish at 1,353.
Unlike yesterday, there were plenty of winners today. Let's take a closer look at three of the better-performing stocks in the Dow today.
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , up 3.8%
B of A has been the poster child for the U.S. economy lately, moving up and down with the nation's overall economic prospects. But it's important to remember that B of A is first and foremost a bank, and the lifeblood of banks is credit.
Today's news, that consumer credit expanded by a larger than expected $17.8 billion in January, was music to banks' ears. But interestingly, the up move didn't come from revolving debt from sources like credit cards (which actually posted a small decline). Instead, non-revolving debt was the big mover, a category that includes student loan debt. Interestingly, B of A stopped making certain types of student loans a while back, so it may benefit from the increase in consumer credit.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , up 2.2%
The home improvement retailer didn't have any company-specific news today that drove it up. But Warren Buffett's pronouncement in his annual letter to shareholders that residential real estate is a promising area for investment has to be good news for Home Depot. After all, the thing about real-estate investment is that while REITs and other exchange-traded investments don't involve any actual work, investment properties directly require both money and time.
If real estate does start booming as a potential investment again, then the hard work that owner-investors put into their homes should translate to better sales at Home Depot and its peers. With low interest rates supporting financing efforts, a housing rebound is becoming a more realistic possibility.
General Electric (NYSE: GE ) , up 1.9%
After yesterday's pessimism about global growth prospects, GE provided a solid counterpoint today. The company briefed investors today, saying that it expects growth markets -- including Latin America, Australia, and the Middle East -- to provide half of GE's revenue within the next decade. Specifically, it sees revenue in Asia growing 10% to 15% this year, compared to a flat to 5% up-showing in the U.S. and western Europe.
GE is hardly the only company banking on emerging markets to help it grow. But confirmation of corporate confidence in emerging economies is good news for bullish investors.
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