It was a great day for the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) rose 2.9% to 12,013.43 today, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) and Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) up a bit more -- 3% to 1,241.30 and 3.2% to 2,603.73, respectively.

If we have to credit just one thing ...
According to water-cooler talk on the Web, we can thank:

  • A surge in U.S. housing starts (along with permits and homebuilder sentiment).
  • German business confidence that's increasing more than expected.
  • Spanish bonds that are selling plentifully and more cheaply than last month.

Of the three, No. 1 is a bit dubious, because for housing prices to recover, the supply-and-demand dynamics must equalize. More starts mean more inventory added, which has a dampening effect on prices.

A more granular view
For the individual stock investors among us, we can also look at the big moves among the stocks that make up the Dow.

If you haven't noticed, every single one of the 30 Dow companies was up today!

Here are the five biggest winners:


Today's Stock Price Change

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) 5.1%
JPMorgan Chase 4.9%
Home Depot (NYSE: HD) 4.4%
Alcoa (NYSE: AA) 4.1%
DuPont (NYSE: DD) 4.1%

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Given the housing and European goodness today, it's not surprising to see these types of companies leading the Dow winners. Construction equipment, banking, a home-focused retailer, and commodities make a lot of sense. DuPont may have you scratching your head, but its chemicals are used all over the economy. And hey, on this day, even the worst Dow stock is up 1.3%!

As you digest the day's news, remember that we're just looking at daily stock-price movements here. It's fun to check in on the news, but at The Motley Fool, we recommend investing for the long term. These daily price movements are just small blips in the bigger picture.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.