Twenty-eight of the 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) stocks were trading down at midday. The index lost 160 points, mostly thanks to a spate of weak earnings reports. It's almost silly to talk about the index's "biggest winners" on a day like this.
And yet, there are a couple of bona fide winners even today. The jumps may not be large, but they're bucking the trend nonetheless.
So how did Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) manage to squeak out small gains against such a dark backdrop?
Let's start in the financial sector. Bank of America shares gained a modest 0.3% today, making it the Dow's largest gainer. And no, it's not a broad sector surge; fellow Dow component JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) fell 1.1%, and well-respected rival Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) is down 0.8%. Big banks were not immune to today's market malaise.
But the bank had some good news to share today. Bank of America is on track to comply with a government-ordered mortgage reduction program that dates back to the 2008 crisis. More than $4.7 billion in principal reductions have been approved to date. This is good news, because the bank could be subject to federal penalties if it fails to honor this commitment. So the stock is treading water while many others are sinking.
So how about Home Depot? The home improvement retailer eked out a 0.1% gained just after lunch. The National Association of Realtors just reported figures on sales of existing homes, and it wasn't bad. Sales are up 11% year over year, and there are more potential buyers than approved mortgage applications on the market right now. These are healthy trends, and NAR spokesman Larry Yun called it "a genuine recovery" in the making.
As you know, Home Depot thrives on resales. Every fixer-upper is a potential goldmine for this company. That's all it takes to make a modest winner amid the Dow's general bloodbath.
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