Why the Dow Closed at an All-Time High Today

While the S&P 500 Index slipped Tuesday, breaking a four-day rally that had sent it to an all-time closing high, the 30-stock, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) reached new closing records of its own today on strong earnings. A weak manufacturing outlook in the mid-Atlantic region and a warning from House Speaker John Boehner that more spending cuts will be needed for further debt ceiling increases later this year held stocks in check. Still, the Dow was able to add 22 points, or 0.1%, ending at 15,567, an all-time high.

United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) led all blue-chip gainers, surging 3% as earnings per share rocketed 27%. Because United Technologies is the fifth-heaviest weighted stock in the index, this earnings beat played a vital role in keeping the Dow in the green. Of course, no one's complaining about a surprisingly robust quarter, but investors always want to know if they can expect more to come. As luck would have it, the company also boosted full-year 2013 projections, earning the proverbial applause of Wall Street.

PC maker Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , up a remarkable 80% this year after a miserable 2012 that saw the stock register as the Dow's worst performer, gained 0.9%, continuing its recent bullish trajectory. Today's advance comes as the company unveils new "Z series" workstations. The line of high-functioning desktops was designed with professionals like engineers, architects, designers, and photographers in mind, as well as other "knowledge workers and specialists" with high demands for image quality and performance, according to HP's press release.

McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) continued the slump it began yesterday after failing to impress with its latest earnings report; the stock lost another 0.8% after yesterday's 2.7% slump. Mickey D's cited higher advertising costs and escalating price competition as two of its biggest setbacks in the quarter, apparently both sentiments that rival Wendy's vouched for today. Overshadowing that, however, was the fact that Wendy's was able to beat profit estimates while McDonald's was not.

Lastly, property and casualty insurer Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) sank 3.8% to end at the bottom of the Dow. You'd never guess it after considering the shellacking the stock took today, but the company actually blew away Wall Street estimates, earning $2.41 per share when analysts were looking for just $1.64 per share. So why the shellacking? Well, it appears Travelers was somehow able to overcharge customers for an entire quarter, and, because people are starting to notice, the insurer has to quickly lower its prices before things get ugly.

 

The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2552971, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/21/2014 6:22:43 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement