Earnings, Not Speculation, Give Dow Big Boost

Earnings results are the story this morning, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) basks in the glow of some stellar reports and sits at a 105-point gain as of 11:45 a.m. EDT. Though today marks the second day of testimony from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke before the House Financial Services Committee, investors may be assuming correctly that they'll just be hearing the same story over again, and instead seem to be focusing on the results from the Dow component stocks.

Biggest winner 
So far in trading, the biggest winner is
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) , with a 5.16% gain after solid second-quarter earnings beat analyst estimates handily. The health care company also beat top-line expectations and updated its forward guidance, which has helped investors get a boost this morning. Though funding reductions in Medicare and retirement business put pressure on UnitedHealth's net margins, the company is expecting to see consistent enrollment, which boosted the second-quarter results, continue throughout the year.

Biggest loser 
Intel
(NASDAQ: INTC  ) is the leading laggard this morning, with a 3.52% drop after forecasting further drops in revenue from PC sales for the next quarter. The company reported earnings last night that again disappointed analysts. The market continues to shift away from PCs, with Intel left holding the bag. The second quarter marks the fourth consecutive quarter of declining revenue.

The company did meet analyst estimates for revenue and earnings, though the match cannot overcome the weight of continued declines. Intel's future rides on its incorporation into new products like tablets, smartphones, and other personal devices -- no one sees the demand for PCs gaining momentum anytime soon.

Biggest afterglow 
This title goes to
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , which reported earnings yesterday, but is still gaining this morning with a 3.22% boost. The last of the big four banks to announce earnings, B of A was under extreme pressure to live up to the others' results. The often-maligned bank didn't disappoint, with a 63% rise in earnings compared to last year. Thanks to management's focus on running a leaner ship, the bank shed $1 billion in costs, allowing such a huge jump in earnings.

The bank also finds itself in one of the leading spots for capital reserves, with its Tier 1 common ratio jumping to 9.6% in the second quarter. This helps the bank's investors take a breather as regulators continue pushing higher and stricter capital requirements on the nation's largest banks.

The other Dow banking stock, JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) , is also enjoying a little bit of the afterglow this morning with a 1.62% gain. Continued signs of strength in stock-trading profits and other investment banking operations may be boosting JPMorgan this morning, as both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley reported big jumps in earnings for the second quarter when they announced earnings this morning.

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