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After two days of declines, the resilient bull market once again showed itself today, as the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) soared 120 points, to finish just above the 14,000 mark. It took a 12% jump from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) to reach the milestone, as the company soared after releasing earnings that made investors think that the company may finally have turned the corner with its turnaround. Still, as Fool contributor Dan Carroll remarked earlier today, it's not entirely obvious where HP will find profits going forward. But the news, along with some positive comments suggesting that the Federal Reserve isn't planning to tighten its accommodative monetary stance anytime soon, helped reverse part of the market's big losses from earlier in the week.
Apart from HP, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) was also a big winner, rising more than 2%. Yesterday's announcement that the company raised its dividend by nearly 10% helped bolster investors, despite nervousness about the impact of anti-obesity regulation, and recent weak volume results from key markets like Europe and China. For Coke to justify investors' optimism, it needs to work harder at finding growth in emerging markets, and stay ahead of the regulatory curve in the U.S. and other health-conscious jurisdictions.
Elsewhere, Aruba Networks (UNKNOWN: ARUN.DL ) climbed more than 22% after announcing surprisingly strong earnings. With wireless networking enjoying some tailwinds from increased demand around the world, Aruba not only beat expectations on its most recent quarter, but also issued optimistic guidance about its current quarter, boosting its revenue estimates significantly. The company will have to deliver on those promises to make today's buyers satisfied with their purchases.
Finally, WebMD (NASDAQ: WBMD ) soared 30%. The online health information provider said in its quarterly report that it had rebounded sharply from a weak 2012, with better sales than expected for the just-ended quarter, and encouraging guidance for 2013. Still, even management's optimistic outlook calls for a loss of $0.13 to $0.45 per share, demonstrating that WebMD is a speculative long-term play that needs further improvement in order to become profitable.
Will Coke be it in 2013?
Coca-Cola has been great to long-term shareholders, but the company faces some new threats to its continued market dominance. We've recently compiled a premium research report containing everything you need to know about Coca-Cola. If you own or are considering owning shares in the company, you'll want to click here now and get started!