Buoyed by lower-than-expected applications for unemployment benefits, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) continued to set new highs, closing for a third straight day at an all-time record. Thursday makes the fifth straight day of gains for the Dow, which added 33 points, or 0.23%, to close at 14,329.
In the midst of a remarkable bull run, blue chips are up 9.4% in 2013, 11.6% in the last year, and have rocketed more than 118% higher since the lows of March 9, 2009, nearly four years ago exactly.
The all-star of the Dow Thursday was Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which added 2.9% after passing the Federal Reserve's stress test. The Charlotte, NC-based bank was by no means in a league of its own -- Ally Financial was the only one out of the 18 major banks to fail -- but investors were reassured by how Bank of America passed. B of A registered a 6.8% Tier 1 common capital ratio, comfortably above the Fed's 5% minimum.
ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) lost 1%, to take the distinction as the index's worst performer of the day. Testimony today in a case against Exxon in New Hampshire courts could prove to be costly; an Exxon executive stated that the company had no option but to put a potentially dangerous chemical in its gasoline. The chemical, MTBE, has gone on to contaminate an estimated 40,000 New Hampshire water wells.
Outside the Dow, shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (UNKNOWN:GMCR.DL) added 4.8% today, to trade above $50 per share for the first time in a year. The K-Cup maker gained on news that the company is partnering with Unilever to allow customers the option to brew Lipton tea by the cup. The new partnership should expand the market for Green Mountain's products.
The big mover in the aftermarkets today was Pandora (NYSE:P), which added as much as 21% after announcing quarterly results that blew out expectations. Though the company did report a loss, it was far less than forecasts called for; at the same time, revenue exceeded expectations. CEO Joe Kennedy also made big news by announcing his planned departure from the company once a successor is found.