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The Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) winning streak continued today, after the index closed higher by 5.22 points, or 0.04%. The Dow also set a new closing high today, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both also closed higher. Finishing up 0.09%, the technology-heavy Nasdaq managed to outperform the Dow, while the S&P 500 rose an even greater 0.13%.
The markets got positive economic data this morning, when the Census Bureau reported that February retail sales rose by 1.1%. Economists had been expecting an increase of just 0.06%. The good data boosted some stocks, but not every industry benefited from the news.
The Dow's downers
Shares of the Dow's big industrial stocks didn't help the now-nine-day bull rally. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) fell by 0.51%, while Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) lost 0.93% of its value. Both companies have lagged behind the blue-chip index thus far in 2013. Year to date, the Dow is up 10.31%, while Caterpillar is down 0.37%, and Alcoa has fallen by 1.61%.
Fears that China's GDP and overall economic growth are slowing have increased investors' concerns about these two stocks. But as a number of my colleagues have pointed out, buying when stocks are down and out is usually a winning long-term strategy. Fool Richard Saintvilus also believes that Alcoa's relationship with China will pay off handsomely in the future years.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) fell by 0.24% after it was announced that a number of the company's executive's will have to testify before a Senate panel on Friday about the London Whale incident, in which a single trade cost the company billions. One name missing from the list was Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan's CEO.
This hearing really has no upside for the company and can only be seen as a negative event. Not only will the bad publicity be a reminder of the bank's big loss, but these hearings could also lead to tougher regulations on the industry.
Shares of AT&T (NYSE: T ) were down 0.33% when the closing bell rang today. The fall was probably due to the approval of the merger between T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, the fourth and fifth largest wireless providers in the United States. The union of these two companies should give consumers better wireless options than they had in the past, which could hurt both AT&T and Verizon, the top two providers in the U.S. by a large margin.
More Foolish insight
With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal, or whether finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help figure out whether JPMorgan is a buy today, I invite you to read our premium research report on the company today. Click here now for instant access!