These Stocks Pulled the Dow Back From the Brink

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

Things looked ugly for a long time today, as fears about Europe's ongoing sovereign-debt woes weighed on markets around the world. But comments later in the day from Italy's prime minister and the newly elected president of France helped reassure investors that European nations would do all they could to try to reignite growth in the region. The pep rally worked, and after being down almost 200 points earlier in the session and having had all 30 of its components in the red, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) staged an impressive afternoon rebound, eventually finishing the day with only a tiny loss of about 7 points. Broader market measures actually posted gains on the day.

Some of the Dow's stocks actually managed to post decent gains today. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) was the big winner on the session, jumping 2.7%. The move came even as a report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that Freddie Mac forced the bank to buy back $330 million in mortgages over technical issues. While the report reawakens B of A's long connection with questionable mortgage practices, the amount involved is insignificant compared with the nearly $2.2 trillion in assets that B of A carries on its balance sheet.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) did something we haven't seen much of from Dow companies lately: It hit a new 52-week high, rising 1.3%. CEO Bill Simon said its small-format Walmart Express stores are becoming profitable within a year after they open, beating the company's own expectations. The fact that the retailer has been able to maintain strength in its stock price even in the midst of its bribery scandal in Mexico speaks volumes to the progress that Wal-Mart has made in the past year.

Finally, Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) also rose 1.3%. Low aluminum prices led the company to delay expanding an Australian refining plant. Given that rival Norsk announced a full shutdown of its aluminum smelter on the island continent, it appears that the pieces are falling into place that should eventually lead to a recovery in aluminum prices. Some smaller players might have to go out of business before Alcoa and other big survivors can reap the rewards, but it should happen eventually.

When a flat close is good news
Coming back from a big deficit is always a good sign for the market. But will it help your stocks? Your best bet is to pick only the stocks with the best prospects. If you want one more idea for your portfolio, be sure to find out about the company that the Fool's own chief investment officer named The Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. It's all in our free special report, which you can read free and discover the name of this stock.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1893590, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/22/2016 9:42:58 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 12 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:47 PM
^DJI $18145.71 Down -16.64 -0.09%
AA $26.88 Up +0.19 +0.71%
Alcoa CAPS Rating: ***
BAC $16.67 Up +0.11 +0.66%
Bank of America CAPS Rating: ****
WMT $68.34 Down -0.39 -0.57%
Wal-Mart Stores CAPS Rating: ***