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These 3 Stocks Are Leading the Dow Higher

At the halfway point of the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) was basically unchanged, down 0.70 (or 0.01%) to 13,171.44.

This morning's economic news was mixed. The U.S. Department of Labor reported the consumer price index was up just 0.1%, below economists' expectations of 0.2%. The New York Fed reported its Empire State index dropped below zero to negative 6, reflecting worsening manufacturing conditions in the Northeast U.S. The one bright spot came from the National Association of Home Builders, whose housing market index rose to 37, its highest level since February of 2007.

Stocks as a whole were relatively flat, but a few are pushing the Dow up today.

Today's top 3

  1. Today's Dow leader is Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , up 1.6% (or $0.27) to $17.44. Networking companies' shares are down this year as spending by telecoms has been below expectations. This morning, AT&T's CFO commented that the company's capital expenditures would be maintained "in the $20 billion range." Investors had been worried AT&T would cut its planned capital expenditures. Networking stocks were up across the board with JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU  ) leading the way, up 10.4%. Fool contributor Tim Brugger believes Cisco is still a value stock -- click here to read his take.

  2. American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) is second behind Cisco, up 1.09% (or $0.61) to $56.69. Yesterday AmEx completed a secondary bond offering at the absurdly low rate of 0.989%. The low rate reflects generally low interest rates, American Express' good credit rating, and investors' demand for yield. American Express reported mixed earnings last month, and the stock is down slightly over 1% since then.

  3. United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) is the third-largest gainer in the Dow today, up 1.03% (or $0.78) to $78.02. The company went ex-dividend today with its $0.54 quarterly dividend. United has paid a dividend since 1987 and currently yields 2.74%. The company reported earnings two weeks ago, missing expectations on revenue but beating analyst estimates on earnings per share. United Technologies has a four-star rating from the Motley Fool CAPS community and recently announced a $7.3 billion dollar deal with the U.S. military.

The best approach
Watching the broad market each day is exciting, but investing doesn't have to be gut-wrenching and stressful. If you're in the mood to pick up some solid buys for the long term, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report that focuses on three Dow stocks with both promising growth prospects and strong dividends. It can be yours, absolutely free -- just click here.

Dan Dzombak can be found on his Facebook page. Click here and like his Facebook page to follow his investing articles. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. 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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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%

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