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The string of big moves for the stock market continued today, with bulls ending up the winners as the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) rose by almost 150 points. Today marked the 11th day in the past 12 that the Dow made a triple-digit move, and stirring investor sentiment was economic data pointing toward slower growth prospects for the U.S. economy. Fickle investors decided to interpret a downward revision in U.S. GDP as reason for the Federal Reserve to hold off on trimming its quantitative easing program, and that helped the struggling bond market bounce back somewhat today as well.
A few different Dow components posted 2% gains. Boeing (NYSE: BA ) had the biggest impact on the Dow, as its share price pushed above the $100 mark as the company has benefited lately from big orders throughout the airline industry. Airlines having found new ways to profit through ancillary charges like baggage fees, and they've also benefited from a relative lack of competition that has enabled them to hold the line more effectively on fares. But as the need for updated fleets increases, airlines have already started turning to Boeing to meet their demand for greater fuel efficiency and state-of-the-art equipment and design. As long as Boeing can avoid production delays, the sky's the limit for the stock.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) also rose by 2% as investors looked to strength in the housing market to drive sales for the home-improvement retailer. If today's bond-market reversal gains traction and mortgage rates start to head lower, then one major threat to housing's recovery could disappear. That in turn would leave Home Depot with a greater opportunity to take advantage of strong consumer confidence and pent-up demand for renovations and other home-improvement projects.
Finally, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) was the last of the 2% trio as it announced plans to release Windows 8.1, which will respond to criticism by bringing back the operating system's popular Start button and also give users more flexibility to customize their use of applications on the screen. Yet part of the gains likely came from an analyst upgrade of Microsoft's stock, with the analyst pointing less toward its PC-related businesses and more toward other business initiatives with greater long-term growth potential. Either way, Microsoft appears increasingly focused on making the most of its longtime and newer businesses, and shareholders like what they're seeing.