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When the stock market needs a boost, it turns to the Federal Reserve for guidance. Today it heard exactly what it wanted to hear, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said that even an improving unemployment rate wouldn't necessarily force the central bank to clamp down on its monetary policy. As of around 1:45 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were up 128 points to 13,209, while the S&P 500 jumped 14 points to 1,411.
Nearly all of the Dow's components were higher today. General Electric (NYSE: GE ) rose more than 1% on news that it would help to develop new power plants in Nigeria. The African nation wants to add about 10 GW to its electrical capacity in the next 10 years and expects to need as much as $100 billion in investment capital overall in order to meet its goals. If GE gets even a portion of that business, it could be a huge contributor to profits throughout the 2010s.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) rose 1.3%. Although the weekend belonged to competitor Lions Gate and its Hunger Games movie, the blockbuster success of the film suggests that audiences are ready to spend money on films they want to see -- even if Disney's John Carter was a disastrous bomb for the company.
But Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) fell about 0.6%. Analyst Citigroup cut its earnings estimates on the telecom giant, citing lower profit margins on its legacy landline business. The company has gone to great lengths to divest itself of those assets, having sold a big chunk of the wireline business to Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR ) back in 2010. If they continue to weigh on results, Verizon should consider getting rid of the rest of its old-fashioned wirelines.
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