Dow Rebounds on Positive Economic News

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is climbing this morning on the news that Cypriot banks have reopened without incident. Investors' continued concern over the European country's economic state held the Dow lower yesterday,  as it closed 33 points down. Currently up 43 points, the index has recovered thanks to some mixed yet overall positive economic news.

Jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, but remain near five-year lows. The rolling four-week average remains under 350,000 new applicants, so economists believe this still shows a firm hiring market. This is great news to investors who may have thought that the labor market was taking a step backward from its marked improvements so far this year.

GDP rose by 0.4% over the last three months of 2012 thanks to increased business investments and exports of services. The rise was just shy of the 0.5% improvement analysts expected to see, but a notable improvement from the government's estimate of 0.1%. This is the third estimate of growth for the final quarter of 2012, with many of the reasons for its slow pace remaining the same -- reduced inventories and defense spending.

No big winners
There aren't any clear winners or losers so far this morning, and the financial sector remains mixed after following the Dow south yesterday. JPMorgan  (NYSE: JPM  ) continues its slide again today, down 0.57% so far, after losing 1.79% Wednesday. Investors may still be wary of the bank following the news that it hid the true losses sustained by the London Whale debacle -- a development that may find the bank's executives in hot water from federal prosecutors. Wednesday also brought other legal trouble for JPM, which lost its fight to have a suit dismissed that claims the bank made risky investments in Lehman Brothers at the expense of a pension fund (the plaintiff). Regardless of the continued legal battles JPMorgan might have, Standard & Poor revised its outlook on the bank back to "stable," after changing it to "negative" following the London Whale trading fiasco last year.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is also trading down this morning, by 0.45%, after closing down by 0.41% yesterday. The bank has been struggling to hold on to the gains it made following the positive outcome of its Fed stress test results. But continued negative investor sentiment keeps the highly traded, highly volatile stock from staying high for too long. Recent news regarding executive shares may help with that -- CEO Brian Moynihan has to hold on to at least 500,000 shares until one year after his retirement, while other executives have to hold on to 300,000 shares until they retire from BAC. This new move helps further align the executive suite with shareholders, and may have a positive impact on the share price in the long run.

Both American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) and Travelers  (NYSE: TRV  ) are up today, by 0.30% and 0.38%, respectively. AmEx continues to ride the positive news from its Bluebird joint venture with Wal-Mart, while Travelers got a bump from Credit Suisse's increased price target for the insurance company.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, Financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.


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