Why the Dow Jones Is Surging Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) , and the stock market as a whole, are up today after banking giant Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) reported positive earnings, sending the financial sector higher. The largest stocks by weight for the Dow are financials, so the index is leading other measures of the market. As of 1:30 p.m. EDT the Dow was up 120 points to 17,064. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) was up 11 points to 1,978.

The big news today is Citigroup's earnings release. Last week, Wells Fargo reported its first disappointing results in nearly four years. However, Wells Fargo does not have significant trading operations or international exposure, so its results can vary from those of the major Wall Street banks. Investors had been waiting to see Citigroup's earnings, as its results are a bellwether for the rest of the major banks. Citigroup did not disappoint.

Citigroup is up 3% after reporting better-than-expected earnings excluding one-time items. One-time items included a $4 billion civil penalty over Citigroup's handling of mortgage-backed securities that was also announced this morning. As part of the settlement, the bank will have to provide a further $2.5 billion in consumer relief. While a large number, that was less than investors had expected, especially given that the government has been getting big settlements lately.

Excluding the settlement and other one-time charges, earnings per share were up 1% year over year to $1.24, far better than analyst expectations of $1.06 a share. Revenue came in at $19.4 billion, beating analyst expectations of $18.9 billion. While various segments were weak, most importantly for the rest of Wall Street, Citigroup's trading revenue only dropped 15% -- far better than the 20% to 25% drop the bank had forecast in its first-quarter earnings report.

While Citigroup isn't a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, its positive results -- particularly the lower-than-expected drop in trading revenue -- pushed up the Dow's financial stocks. Visa (NYSE: V  ) , the largest Dow stock with a weight of 8%, is up 2%, while Goldman Sachs, with a weight of 6%, is up 1.2%. But It's not just financials that are doing well.

The market is up across the board, with 26 of 30 Dow stocks in the green. For the S&P 500, financials as a whole are up 0.8%, while the Basic Materials, Technology, and Consumer Goods Sectors are each up 0.7%.

Source: Finviz.com.

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