After a week or two of consolidating gains since its last record close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) made another push toward new heights Tuesday, climbing 133 points as of 12:30 p.m. EDT. With the rise, the Dow is coming ever closer to the much-hyped 17,000 milestone, which would mark the third time in just over a year that the index reached a new thousand-point level for the first time. Helping to send the average higher today, IBM (NYSE: IBM ) delivered the biggest gain of any Dow component and Disney (NYSE: DIS ) moved to a record high of its own.
IBM jumped 2.6% as the tech giant continued moving forward with efforts to make cloud computing and data analysis easier for its customers. IBM announced this morning that its new Big Data service would be available on IBM's cloud marketplace, giving customers the ability to handle their data seamlessly from remote locations via desktop computers or mobile devices. By enabling employees to sift through electronic files, add new content and coordinate it with existing materials, and make revisions without tripping over each other's work, IBM hopes to demonstrate the advantages of using its cloud-computing services over those of its rivals. Given the immense competition to grab cloud-based business from large enterprise customers, IBM needs to keep coming up with innovations like this to entice new customers and hang on to its existing clients. IBM stock has lagged the Dow for a while now, but success in the cloud could send shares back toward higher ground.
Disney, meanwhile, added 1.1% to hit the stock's best levels ever. The Dow's entertainment giant faces a crucial test today as the U.S. men's national soccer team enters the World Cup knockout rounds in an elimination game against favored Belgium, with a loss potentially meaning that today's likely high ratings for ESPN coverage could drop off substantially for the remainder of the tournament. Still, Disney has plenty of other irons in the fire, with summer movie season adding the latest installment of the Planes animated franchise within the next couple weeks. Despite growing valuations, the immense possibilities for future growth keep Disney shareholders pleased with the company's overall progress and could keep the stock climbing as well.
Hitting records requires that the Dow Jones Industrials receive support both from high-flying momentum stocks and from component companies that have lagged behind the market's overall strength. Today the Dow is getting help on both of those fronts, and that could point to ongoing gains for the average well into the future.
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