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With very little key economic data out this morning, investors focused their attention on interest rate changes in Australia and earnings reports, which for the most part have been strong. With these smaller catalysts, the bulls where out and running again today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) pushed higher. The blue-chip average increased by 87 points, or 0.58%, and for the first time ever, closed above the 15,000 mark, at 15,056. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both also moved upward, gaining 0.52% and 0.11%, respectively. The S&P 500 broke the 1,600 mark last week and now sits at 1,625, while the Nasdaq is now fewer than four points away from the 3,400 milestone.
Let's take a look at a few Dow components that helped push the index above that 15,000 mark today.
Share of Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) rose 2.51% this afternoon, making it the best-performing Dow component of the day. My colleague Dan Dzombak explained why lowering interest rates in Australia gave the stock such a boost this morning. The long and skinny of it is that Caterpillar receives about 10% of its revenue from the country and the lower rates should help spur construction in the country and thus boost sales for the heavy machinery manufacturer.
Verizon's (NYSE: VZ ) stock also popped higher by 1.67% on a number of positive news reports. The first came from the company itself, when it announced that it would lease or sell part of its Manhattan headquarters at 140 West St. Verizon plans to keep the first 10 floors for itself, but the other 21 of the 31-floor building will be up for grabs. This is part of a plan to reduce costs and raise capital as the real estate market begins to grow stronger.
The other positive news was the release this morning of a Nokia Lumia 928 smartphone ad. According to the rumor mill, the phone will only be available through Verizon.
Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) rose higher by 1.55% during the regular trading session as investors waited for the company to release quarterly earnings after the market closed today. Analysts expected a strong quarter with revenue of $10.49 billion after it posted $9.63 billion in revenue during the same quarter last year. Additionally, Wall Street wanted to see earnings per share of $0.77, after Disney posted $0.58 per share a year ago. So even though these goals seemed lofty, Mickey still beat them easily. Walt Disney posted revenue of $10.55 billion and earnings per share of $0.79. But the rally during regular market hours may have been overdone because, as of this writing, shares were slightly lower in the after-hours session.
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