March 14, 2012
As if yesterday's big move upward wasn't enough, the stock market added to its gains with a more modest advance this morning. Economic news that import prices rose and a widening trade deficit took a back seat to a controversy surrounding the departure of a Goldman Sachs executive and his revelations about the Wall Street firm's business practices. At around 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were up 38 points to 13,216. The S&P rose a point to 1,397.
The big news from last night was the release of the Federal Reserve's latest stress test results. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) was the big winner, gaining 4% on news that it had passed the test, while American Express (NYSE: AXP ) had a 3% move. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) also advanced, although less strongly as its success on the stress tests was more expected. JPMorgan announced that it would increase its dividend following the favorable results, but B of A said that it planned to keep its currently low dividend payout unchanged, presumably to help it in its continuing efforts to keep capital levels high. AmEx hasn't made a dividend announcement yet.
On the down side, Disney (NYSE: DIS ) fell 1.6% after nearly hitting a 52-week high on Tuesday. Despite objections from investors, CEO Bob Iger officially took over as board chairman yesterday. He'll have the dual role until at least early 2015.
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