The Federal Reserve's policy decision hasn't shaken the markets much in the afternoon session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was up more than 100 points this morning, but the blue-chip index has pared its gains and is up just 22 points as of 2:30 p.m. EDT. Stocks are sluggish on the day, but a few members of the Dow are making big moves. Let's check out the top stories of the day.
Fed doesn't make waves
The Fed wasn't expected to announce much big news about the future of quantitative easing today. Markets got a slight boost at 2 p.m. EDT following the immediate release of the Fed's decision, but the Dow has settled back into its rut. The reality is that if the Fed won't release details about when it will slow down its stimulative monthly asset purchases, the markets aren't likely to move much in either direction. Yet stimulus will have to end at some point.
The Fed's decision hasn't kept Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) from sitting solidly atop the Dow, up 2.1%. B of A's stock has done well this year, up more than 25% year to date, and the company's earnings release two weeks ago has kept the firm right on pace to increase net income by 63% for the quarter. Still, Bank of America's cost-cutting measures are largely responsible for the company's rising bottom line, and the big bank will need to drive its top line more strongly going forward in order to maintain its earnings growth.
American Express (NYSE: AXP ) hasn't been able to ride good news higher today. The stock is down 1.7% after Consumer Reports ranked AmEx's Bluebird prepaid card at the top of the magazine's ranking of prepaid cards. The cards have gained traction lately: Consumer Reports reveals that prepaid cards were used to make more than $77 billion in transactions across the industry in 2012.
It's a spot of good news for American Express, as the stock hopes to follow an improving consumer landscape higher. Consumer confidence has risen steadily this year as Americans become more optimistic about the direction of the economy. If spending stays on the upswing, expect American Express' shares to follow in its footsteps.
Verizon's (NYSE: VZ ) not having such a good day: Shares of the telecom stock are down 1.3% so far to rank among the Dow's biggest losers. Rumors are swirling that Verizon's HTC One smartphone will launch on Aug. 15 after having its launch date bumped back, but Verizon's dominance in the wireless arena has made this company immune to slight hiccups from the phone makers. The company has put distance between itself and rival AT&T as it increases its member base, driving the stock up 20% year to date.
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