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Although it seems that the politicians in Washington are still nowhere close to a compromise which would stop the U.S. economy from falling off the fiscal cliff and possibly back into a recession, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) managed to pull itself higher today.
The index closed the day at 13,311, up 59 points, or 0.45%. Of the 30 stocks which make up the Dow, 25 of them were in the green when the closing bell rang. This afternoon I explained why Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , and Merck (NYSE: MRK ) were in the red, and three of the index's biggest losers; to read about those companies click here. Or to learn why Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) , and Disney (NYSE: DIS ) were three of the Dow's biggest winners today, continue reading below.
So why were they higher?
Share of both Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase jumped higher by 2.95% and 2.3%, respectively, today. The move higher can be contributed to the positive housing numbers released by the National Association of Realtors this morning. The sale of pre-owned homes increased in November by 5.9%. Pre-occupied home sales numbers are now at their highest level since 2009, and jumped 14.5% higher than November of last year .
Higher sales number for pre-owned homes is not only great for individual homeowners, but for the banks, which still hold a huge number of previously foreclosed homes. The banks also hold a large number of mortgages, which could increase the risk of the companies if home sales dry up and the housing market falls again.
Shares of Disney also moved higher by 1.98% today, after a report was released by Morgan Stanley. Analysts at the financial institution believe Disney's margins and growth will rise in 2013. ESPN and the company's parks operating leverage were two areas that the analyst cited as key sectors which will drive growth and higher margins. Morgan Stanley currently has an Overweight rating on the stock, with a price target of $57 per share.
It's easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of the Mouse. True, Disney amusement parks around the world hosted more than 121 million guests in 2011. But, from its vast catalog of characters, to its monster collection of media networks, much of Disney's allure for investors lies in its diversity. The Motley Fool's new premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch, as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going forward. We're also providing a full year of regular analyst updates as news develops, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.