The Bulls Stampede the Dow

The bulls continue their stampede through the markets, taking on a mini-rally that is looking to extend the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (INDEX: ^DJI  ) winning streak to five trading sessions.

As long-term investors, we don't pay much heed to "psychologically important barriers," or, in plain English, "big round numbers." Given that, the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) staying above 1,400 isn't as interesting as the fact that without Europe constantly reminding us how fragile its economic union is, even mixed jobs data at home like today's can't get the bears out of hibernation. Heck, even China's slowdown, which is easily interpreted as a bad sign, has spurred further government stimulus, boosting stocks. Yes, it's safe to say the bulls are in control.

Let's take a closer look at how the three major indexes are faring and at several stocks making headlines.

Index

Gain/Loss

Gain/Loss %

Intraday Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average 14.68 0.11% 13,190.32
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC  ) 19.75 0.67% 2,987.65
S&P 500 6.54 0.47% 1,397.53

Source: Yahoo! Finance as of 11a.m. EDT.

Two-thirds of the Dow's components are seeing green, with the biggest gainer currently Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , up 2.4% thanks to an upgrade to "overweight" from Piper Jaffray. Piper thinks the stock can hit $22 a share, a 25% gain, after doing channel checks prior to Cisco's earnings release on the 15th. Cisco has been a poor performer year to date, down 4%, so Piper sees a turnaround of opinion in the second half.

The biggest decliner among Dow components is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , down 1.2%. New CEO Meg Whitman continues to reshape the company, writing down a significant acquisition from the Mark Hurd era. EDS will end up with an $8 billion writedown and will be a source of many of the 27,000 employees soon to be cut loose as the company attempts to streamline operations. However, at the same time, the company upped its full-year guidance to a buck a share, so investors are starting to see the fruits of HP's labor. Today's decline is merely paring off yesterday's 2.4% gain when much of this news broke. Wall Street is also getting increasingly bullish on the stock and sees shares hitting $33, a whopping 70% increase from its current level.

Buying underperforming stocks like HP and Cisco and expecting these dogs of the Dow to reverse course is certainly one way to invest. However, there are arguably better and more stable approaches to building long-term wealth and retiring well. In our free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," we reveal some stocks that could help you as well as some winning wealth-building strategies. Click here to keep reading.

David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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