Dow Inches Upward as Financials Soar and Coca-Cola Fizzles

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is moving up today, with financial stocks moving nicely skyward. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its summary of employment data tomorrow morning, and, with the unemployment rate expected to be virtually unchanged at 7.4%, markets may be feeling less jittery about the prospects of a QE3 taper occurring in the near future.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is up well over 1% so far this morning, possibly due to some flattering words from Fairholme Capital Management chief Bruce Berkowitz, who told CNBC yesterday that the big bank has "done a great job," and will be comparable to Wells Fargo in the profitability department in a few more years.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) is flying high as well, despite the news that the government is investigating the bank for criminal activity regarding its dicey energy trades in California and parts of the Midwest. The bank settled those charges with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in July, but U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claims that certain JPMorgan employees may have withheld critical information from regulators during the investigation of that case.

Credit card leader American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) has risen today as well, in spite of the results of Bloomberg's latest Consumer Comfort Index. The results, released earlier this morning, show that consumer confidence fell again for the fourth week in a row. The index measures consumers' concerns about the economy, which influences purchasing behavior -- a factor that could impact credit card issuers like American Express.

Things aren't going better with Coke
Coca-Cola
(NYSE: KO  ) has fallen into the red today, a somewhat surprising follow-up to its performance yesterday. Since then, some bad news has hit the giant beverage maker: Its insistence on sponsoring a Spanish television show that sports questionable content may expose the company to a boycott encompassing many Spanish-speaking countries.

A religious organization based in Madrid, HazteOir.org, is organizing the boycott, after companies such as McDonald's and Burger King withdrew their ads from the reality show. The CEO of Coca-Cola Spain responded to the group's request by using Twitter to call those who object to the sponsorship on religious grounds "fanatics" -- something I'm betting will only inflame the anti-Coke sentiment even further.

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