In a decent day for our stock portfolios, each of the three major stock market indices were up between half a percent and 1% today:



Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) +69.78 [+0.56%] 12,462.47
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) +25.94 [+0.97%] 2,702.50
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +11.38 [+0.89%] 1,292.08

There wasn't any major market-moving news today. Not that that stops folks from assigning a reason for the good day in the market.

Some of those people will point to Europe and the generally favorable news: (1) Fitch Ratings reiterating that it doesn't expect to downgrade France from AAA and waxing favorable on the current path of European actions, (2) the euro rising for a second consecutive day, and (3) key European stock markets rising for the day.

Although there weren't any major earnings announcements today, the Dow's early reporter, Alcoa (NYSE: AA), reported yesterday, pleasing investors despite tallying a slight loss for the quarter. It beat sales estimates and gave a favorable aluminum demand forecast for 2012.

While Alcoa gained 2.9% yesterday before reporting and was pretty flat today, the big winner was Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), up 5.7% today. It's already up 19.2% year to date after a woeful 2011 saw it lag all other Dow stocks. There were no big losers, as 23 of the 30 Dow stocks gained for the day and none of the losers lost more than 0.7% (GE and Cisco).

It was another great day for Bank of America, but remember to keep its hot streak and all the other daily noise in perspective. Invest for the long term. And if you're looking for a long-term stock pick, our chief investment officer has identified his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock he likes in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Get access to the report and find out the name of this legendary company.

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.