Anxious investors came into today's Friday the 13th session wondering if the ailing stock market could break its six-day losing streak. But today, the markets got a little help from China, whose GDP rose 7.6% in the second quarter compared to the year-ago quarter. That still represents a slowdown, but analysts saw signs that the country could avoid the economic hard landing that many have increasingly feared. Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell somewhat less than expected in the U.S., and when you add all those things together, you end up with a big market rally. By just after 10:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) had risen more than 150 points.
In Dow earnings news, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) was the big winner of the session in early trading, rising almost 4% even after revealing $4.4 billion in trading losses during the second quarter. Nevertheless, the company said it earned $4.96 billion in the second quarter, or $1.21 per share, down only slightly from its year-earlier results. Higher mortgage-loan volume coupled with falling delinquency and default rates helped the bank, as it was able to free up money previously set aside for bad loan losses.
On the other side of the coin, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) was the only loser in the Dow, falling almost 3%. Rival Lexmark (NYSE: LXK ) cut its revenue and earnings guidance for the second quarter, sending its shares down more than 10%. Given that Lexmark is another big player in the printer business that HP is well known for, investors clearly believe the news reflects industrywide trends that will hurt HP's results as well.
Finally, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) rose 2%, adding to yesterday's big gains after Bloomberg reported that board members aren't happy with CEO Robert McDonald. In conjunction with yesterday's news that activist investor Bill Ackman had taken a stake in P&G, it seems increasingly likely that the company could see a change at the top as the company fights to keep its dominance of the consumer products industry.
Breaking the streak
This early in the day, you still can't be sure that the Dow's losing streak will end. The better move is to forget about daily ups and downs and focus on the big picture. Read about three of the best stocks in the Dow in our latest special report: "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." The report is absolutely free, so just click here and get your copy today.