These Stocks Are Leading the Dow Higher

As of 1:15 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is up 122 points, or 0.9%. About six more days like this would break the Dow's all-time highs that were set back in 2007. But these jumps don't happen every day; this is the largest boost the Dow has seen since the QE3 stimulus was announced.

Today's action is a very broad advance, centered squarely on infrastructure plays. The Dow's biggest gainer is construction machinery giant Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) with a solid 2%-plus jump. Fellow machinery manufacturers United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) aren't far behind, each notching gains of roughly 1.8%.

There's no particular news on the American economy to explain these big moves, but rumblings out of Europe would explain most of it. Spain is reportedly looking for ways to avoid the financial fate of Greece, seeking alternatives to a full-bore bailout.

Among other ideas, Spanish finance officials have floated the idea of opening a large credit line with the European Central Bank. This would give Spain a much-needed cash infusion without all the red tape that would be involved in a large-scale purchase of Spanish government bonds or a direct cash loan.

Economists worry that Spain's weakness might devalue the euro in general, which would wreak havoc on international business. Thus, good news for Spain's economy is great news for our multinational giants -- especially ones with deep connections to infrastructure investments across the globe.

Soft-drink titan Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) failed to find a seat on the bandwagon. The company just reported disappointing third-quarter earnings, and management warned that sales are slowing down in China. CEO Muhtar Kent said the fallout from softening growth in China would likely be short-lived and that other BRIC nations are picking up the slack. But Coke shares fell 0.6% on the news anyhow, setting the low-water mark for the Dow.

Get in the know
Caterpillar is the market-share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. Read all about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in our brand new report, which comes with a year of updates. Just click here to access it now.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend The Coca-Cola Company. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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