Ordinarily, news of a slightly better housing market and other signs of economic strength might boost the stock market. Yet while those factors sent the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) higher out of the gate this morning, the most recent decision from the Federal Reserve to keep its overall policy largely unchanged apparently disappointed investors. By the close, the Dow gave up its earlier gains and finished down about 25 points.
But a few stocks managed to buck the trend and close higher. United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) was the big gainer, rising just over 1% and reversing losses from yesterday after the company announced earnings. In the short run, near-term guidance cuts and currency effects may make a difference, but investors may instead be focusing on profits that it is already realizing from its recently closed deal to acquire Goodrich. In the long run, the success or failure of that merger will have a huge impact on earnings for years to come, dwarfing the impact of any single quarter.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) also climbed about 1% after remarks last night from former House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, who said that the government shouldn't go after the bank in connection with allegations made against its Bear Stearns unit. With rival Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) facing a new $1 billion lawsuit over alleged mortgage fraud at Countrywide, any support that JPMorgan can get against potential litigation is a positive.
Finally, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) gained just shy of 1% despite getting a vote of no confidence from Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha told CNBC in a morning interview that he had sold some shares of P&G, citing valuation as the shares remain near 52-week highs. With the company announcing earnings tomorrow, investors will be looking for signs that it's reacting to activist investor Bill Ackman's calls for strong leadership.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns warrants on JPMorgan Chase. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.