On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) finished up 69 points, leaving the benchmark just about 40 points shy of a new all-time record close. Other measures, including the S&P 500, managed to climb to unprecedented heights today, with favorable news from the housing market and from durable-goods sales helping to lift sentiment among investors. Among the best performers in the Dow Jones Industrials today were American Express (NYSE:AXP) and Boeing (NYSE:BA), which together accounted for just less than half of the Dow's overall gains.


American Express gained almost 3%, rising in light of analyst comments about the company's prospects to prosper as consumers return to their spending ways. Winter was a tough time for the broader retail industry, and given the extent to which credit card networks like American Express rely on spending activity, any recovery this spring should be good news. Moreover, unlike its larger rival card networks, American Express has held onto the credit-risk of actually extending credit lines to its customers, and with a superior underwriting process to many of its card-issuing peers, American Express has tapped the full potential of the higher-end luxury clientele seeking the status of its distinguished card offerings. As long as high-end retailers keep outpacing their mainstream counterparts, American Express will be in a good position to keep strong.

Source: Boeing.

Meanwhile, Boeing's 1.3% jump came after the aerospace giant made yet another acquisition announcement this morning. Boeing will buy AerData, which makes software that should help it manage maintenance records for customers who lease aircraft rather than buying it outright. The move is the second step toward developing greater software expertise for Boeing, after it announced the purchase of ETS Aviation late last week. With ETS Aviation supplying software to help aircraft operators save fuel, Boeing clearly recognizes the importance of including value-added services along with its airplanes in order to give it a competitive edge against other aircraft manufacturers.

The Dow Jones Industrials didn't manage to set a record Tuesday. But with many stocks in the Dow sharing the same positive trends that helped boost shares of Boeing and American Express today, there's a strong possibility that the Dow Jones Industrial Average will add itself to the list of benchmarks setting all-time high levels in the near future.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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