3 Stocks That Led the Dow Higher Friday

You wouldn't know it from the way stocks are behaving, but nothing's actually gotten resolved yet in Europe. In fact, many expect Spain to ask over the weekend for assistance to recapitalize its banking sector, which helped push Banco Santander (NYSE: STD  ) and other Spanish stocks higher. But with another Greek election coming in just over a week, there's a lot on the line that could move markets in either direction. But at least for now, stock markets in the U.S. have responded well to apparent steps toward reaching a lasting solution to the crisis, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) rising another 93 points Friday to bring the average's weekly gains to more than 3.5%.

But several Dow components fared even better than that, playing a key role in pulling the Dow up. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) was today's big winner in the Dow, rising 3.5% as it cashed in on renewed growth following a turbulent period for the retailer. The rise helped the stock set another multiyear high, and with the business starting to fire on all cylinders, it's looking like Wal-Mart is well positioned for the current economic environment.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) rose more than 2.5% even in the face of pressure from the Federal Reserve to increase capital requirements at big U.S. banks. The bank did recently get a vote of confidence from former Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan, who dismissed its hedge-related trading losses as inconsequential. In the long run, even multibillion-dollar losses will pale in comparison with whether JPMorgan is able to promote future growth -- and higher capital requirements might make that more difficult.

Finally, Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) jumped more than 2%. Housing-related stocks have gotten whipsawed in recent sessions as the economic recovery comes into question, but Home Depot is back to within 1% of a new decade-high stock price. As long as the home-improvement retailer can keep executing on its strategy to capture both renovation and remodeling activity as well as full-scale construction, Home Depot could thrive in just about any housing market.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Home Depot and 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.


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