Yesterday, we saw the markets surge higher after a poor GDP number was reported, and today, they continued their three-day climb after strong housing numbers, low unemployment claims, and increased consumer spending reports hit investors' hands. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) rose by 114 points, or 0.77%, today, and now sits back above the 15,000 mark, at 15,024. Over the past three days, the blue-chip index has increased by 365 points, and has increased by triple digits the last two sessions after just missing the 100-points mark on Tuesday by nine points. The S&P 500 closed the day up 0.62%, while the NASDAQ came along for the ride higher and gained 0.76%.
Let's take a look at a few of the big winners today that helped pull the Dow higher.
Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) rose by 0.79% today on news that the analysts at BMO Capital had increased their earnings per share estimates on the company. The firm believes that sales of both Windows and the Xbox gaming unit will continue to grow in the coming years. This allowed BMO to increase its EPS estimates through 2014, and set a price target on Microsoft at $34 per share, while holding its market perform rating as is.
Shares of Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) gained 0.28% during the regular trading day after the announcement that a federal judge signed off on the terms of Pfizer's agreement to pay $964 million to settle asbestos claims against Quigley, a company Pfizer owns. While the price is high, Pfizer should be able to manage the amount and, more importantly, move past this issue. While the regular trading session was good for the stock price, the after-hours session was even better. As of 6:30 p.m. EDT, shares were trading higher by another 1.31% after the company announced a $10 billion shares buy-back program. This comes just a few days after the company told shareholders it would retire about $11.4 billion worth of stock because it spun-off its animal health unit.
Lastly, shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA) took flight today, rising 2.38% after yesterday's news that the company's joint venture with Lockheed-Martin, United Launch Alliance, won a $1.1 billion contract for the Pentagon's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The venture is to develop space-launch vehicles, and this big contract should help Boeing, as it continues to feel some growing pains with its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Speaking of the Dreamliner, Boeing delivered its first 787 to British Airways today. This is a great sign that, although the plane has had some issues in the past, buyers still want them.
More foolish insight
The future of television begins now... with an all-out $2.2 trillion media war that pits cable companies like Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner against technology giants like Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation reveals the secret Steve Jobs took to his grave, and explains why the only real winners are these three lesser-known power players that film your favorite shows. Click here to watch today!