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With housing prices rising and durable-goods sales increasing, investors pushed the markets higher today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) managed to gain 111 points, or 0.77%, while the S&P 500 surged higher by 0.78%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.53%.
The catalyst for these moves were probably the 5.7% increase in durable goods in February and the Case-Schiller Index showing that home prices in the nation's top 20 cities rose 8.1% in January.
In also helped the index that a number of its components rose more than 1% today.
A few Dow winners
Shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) rose by 1.47% today, after UBS upgraded the company. Analysts at the Swiss bank increased their target price to $87 per share. UBS clearly believes in the future of this company, and I think most investors would agree that Johnson & Johnson will be around for a long time to come. But as my Fool colleague Rich Smith noted earlier today, the company already trades at 21 times earnings at a time when management expects to grow those earnings by only the mid-single digits over the next few years.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) surged higher by 1.62% today, on the heels of the announcement that the company's Bluebird prepaid cards will now be FDIC-insured. This gives the card a legitimate status for individuals who were previously thinking about using the card but were concerned with the safety of their money. Cardholders can now also have funds directly deposited onto the Bluebird, write checks with it, and use it at ATMs. These new features and the insurance should both help the card gain more users and dramatically increase American Express' transaction fee count.
Lastly, shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA ) rose 2.09% following the company's first 787 Dreamliner test flight with its new lithium battery system. While the news is seen as a positive event, shareholders and management surely would have rather never been in this situation in the first place. The FAA grounded the plane back on Jan. 16. One fire and another emergency landing have kept the plane on the ground while engineers rework the battery system and safety components. Yesterday's flight is a sign that progress is being made and that the FAA will soon allow the plane to begin flying again.
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