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Why the Dow Rose Today

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Coming off a breakneck performance yesterday, at least as far as the past few weeks are concerned, U.S. stock markets traded only lightly higher today. In fact, they barely made a dent, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) rising only 15 points. In equally boring fashion, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq increased 0.4% and 0.02%, respectively, the day after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi unveiled his most aggressive efforts yet to stave off the multiyear debt crisis that has riddled much of Europe and threatened the breakup of the common currency bloc. In a sign of further investor easing, the VIX (INDEX: ^VIX  ) , a measure of market volatility commonly referred to as the market's "fear gauge," dropped 7.8%. However despite the placid performances from the broad indexes, plenty of individual stocks posted noteworthy performances on the day.

Around the markets
Speculation on the possibility of more quantitative easing from of the U.S. Federal Reserve set off a rally in commodity-based stocks, especially given the recent weakness in jobs reports. In addition, coal stocks went on an absolute tear today as China announced that it approved an additional $156 billion in infrastructure spending. In reaction, Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR  ) led the S&P 500, gaining 16.8% on the day. Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF  ) also rose sharply, to the tune of 15%.

Likewise, shares of lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) jumped 12.5% as the company issued another strong quarterly performance. For the quarter, revenue gained 33% from the previous year to a total of $282.6 million. Perhaps more impressive, same-store sales gained 15% as well. The stock has gained more than 40% since August. Bullishness for this retailer certainly seems alive and well, even with a relatively weak consumer spending environment.

However, as ardent observers of the market, we see these kinds of swings more than really makes sense. The safest way to make sure you don't get sideswiped by the market's crazy spikes is to look beyond the day-to-day movements and focus on what you can really understand -- a company's long-term prospects. The Fool recently highlighted three of the top Dow dividend dynamos in a research report for our readers. You can grab it for free today, so get started.

Andrew Tonner held no shares of the any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can find Andrew and all his Foolish writing on Twitter at @Andrew Tonner.

The Motley Fool owns shares of lululemon athletica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of lululemon athletica. We Fools don't 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,162.35 -40.27 -0.22%
S&P 500 2,141.34 -2.95 -0.14%
NASD 5,241.83 -4.58 -0.09%

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Related Tickers

10/20/2016 4:35 PM
^DJI $18162.35 Down -40.27 -0.22%
^VIX $13.75 Down -0.66 -4.58%
Volatility S&P 500 CAPS Rating: No stars
ANRZQ $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Alpha Natural Reso… CAPS Rating: **
CLF $6.09 Up +0.19 +3.22%
Cliffs Natural Res… CAPS Rating: ***
LULU $57.77 Down -0.81 -1.38%
Lululemon Athletic… CAPS Rating: ***