A day after adding 115 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) surged for a second consecutive day after remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke again rallied stocks. The Dow rose 175 points -- its fourth straight 100-point move -- to end at a five-year high of 14,075.
Bernanke's comments buoyed shares in financial companies such as JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), which added 3.5% to lead the Dow higher today. The chairman indicated that interest rates will remain low for the near future; lower rates should encourage more borrowing that will in turn facilitate and encourage projects that help the economy. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch also issued a buy rating on JPMorgan shares, with a price target of $55.
Only one of the Dow's 30 components, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), was down for the day, which should indicate how robust today's market was. HP, losing only 0.1%, was one of the biggest gainers in the index yesterday, adding nearly 4% after the company announced that it will be going with Google's Android OS on future tablets.
Thankfully, one stock that isn't a part of the Dow is Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN). Although shares surged nearly 8% Wednesday before its earnings announcement, they were to plunge shortly thereafter, and are down as much as 25% in after-hours trading. Groupon both lost $81 million in the fourth quarter and issued guidance for the first quarter that was far below Wall Street estimates. The double-whammy has proved calamitous for shareholders in the daily deals site.
Another struggling company, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), lost an incredible $522 million in the fourth quarter, more than six times the $87 million it lost in the quarter just a year earlier. Showing what dire straits the retailer is in, sales also fell 28% in just a year, while comparable-store sales contracted more than 30%. The stock, up moderately during the day, fell more than 10% after the bell.
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