Well, this is exciting. After a bevy of not so great economic data was released this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) took a brief detour south on its way toward record highs. But with a new day, the Dow seems to be gaining back all that it lost in the past few days. Already past the 14,000 mark (and down again) this morning, the Dow has been hovering around a 1% improvement since opening. Though some may think the records won't mean anything, investors get excited about the prospect and the added interest could push the index further.
3 big winners
There are plenty of Dow winners to choose from this morning, as 28 of the index's 30 stocks are up as of this writing. Leading the blue chip pack are the likes of Travelers (NYSE:TRV), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). While B of A and Verizon have both been hovering around a 2% improvement this morning, Travelers is up 2.25%.
Travelers has been an investor favorite this week, and has seen its price improve 9% so far this year. While the company hasn't made any serious headlines, investors are impressed nonetheless. With the cost of Hurricane Sandy below expectations, Travelers joins several other insurance companies that have gotten a boost from the "it could have been worse" sentiment. And new buy recommendations and increased price targets sure couldn't hurt, either.
Verizon and its rivals, AT&T and Sprint, may be getting a boost today from the new exemption starting tomorrow that will lead to fines and possibly jail time to customers who unlock their smartphones in order to switch to a new carrier. Under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, customers are no longer able to "jailbreak" their subsidized phones -- think $600-plus iPhone 5 for $199 and a two-year contract -- unless they get permission from the phone companies. Though the law seems somewhat ridiculous for customers, the phone companies will see this as a big win since it will tie customers to their networks for the life of the phone. Though the news may be hard for customers to handle, investors should consider this a good thing for cellular-carrier stocks.
Bank of America continues to have its ups and downs. As 2012 demonstrated, investors have gained more confidence in the bank, which has been building itself back up. As the bank's own March Madness arrives, investors will get a better glimpse of how regulators view BA of A's improvements. They'll also get to see if the increase of the bank's penny-per-share dividend is approved. With the bank's capital up to snuff, most analysts expect that it should have no trouble passing the Fed's review of its capital plan -- spurring on the chances of investors getting a bit more moola from B of A.