The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) started out the first day back after a long weekend by climbing like a hiker in bear country, only to decide things weren't all that bad a little further down the trunk, where it closed out the day up a respectable 0.48%. Good news out of China started the rally, but acceleration was slowed by continuing harsh news out of Europe. Merck soared into our top spot, while no one in the index was even close to matching JPMorgan Chase's tumble down the slide. The company can blame Citigroup's middling earnings for stunting the banking rally that has ruled 2012 up to this point.

Dowdaily

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Is this the beginning of a bull market? Perhaps, but we're technically not there yet. While performance has been strong during the day, it's really the numbers at the end of it that matter, and we simply haven't crossed that 20% threshold yet.

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Fool.com graphics/photo/art editor Dari FitzGerald doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. 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.