Why the Dow's Creeping Along This Morning

Even as the stock market approaches levels it hasn't seen since early 2008, stocks aren't showing any signs of true fatigue, instead slowly but surely grinding their way upward. Between favorable readings on consumer confidence and a rise in the index of leading economic indicators, the market was able to hold onto its gains from yesterday. Just after 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) were up about two points. It would take about a 30-point gain for the Dow to close at a four-year high.

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) fell more than 1% despite some favorable news about tofacitinib, its drug for ulcerative colitis. A study showed reductions in pain and bleeding among patients, but late-stage trials aren't expected to end until 2015. Pfizer is still waiting on an FDA decision on whether to approve the drug for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Both Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) were down slightly in early trading. Yesterday, Fool contributor Amanda Alix discussed the two carriers in their role on a new Mobile Payments Committee designed to help move electronic payments forward more quickly. With a wide variety of companies involved ranging from credit card networks to mobile-device makers, though, progress could continue to be slow.

Finally, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) rose more than 1%. The company's stock price has been under pressure recently as concerns about the economy have risen, so it's not surprising to see shares rise on a day featuring more optimistic economic data. But Cat also said that its sales of heavy equipment rose at a quicker pace over the past quarter, with 14% global equipment sales growth in the three months that ended in July. The Asia-Pacific region was a source of solid growth, but interestingly, North America also enjoyed strong gains, with a 25% sales jump in the region.

Creeping, creeping
To most investors, any gains are good gains. Slow but steady growth is a great long-term winning strategy, but you have to have the right stocks in your portfolio. The Motley Fool's special report on the Dow will point the way to some great prospects, including three Dow stocks with both promising growth potential and strong dividends. Check it out for free today.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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10/24/2016 12:27 PM
^DJI $18219.43 Up +73.72 +0.41%
CAT $85.72 Down -0.61 -0.71%
Caterpillar CAPS Rating: ***
PFE $32.21 Up +0.03 +0.09%
Pfizer CAPS Rating: ****
T $36.84 Down -0.65 -1.73%
AT and T CAPS Rating: ****
VZ $48.43 Up +0.23 +0.48%
Verizon Communicat… CAPS Rating: ****