The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) took a beating yesterday after investors were spooked by comments about the Cypress bailout plan becoming a template for fixing other troubled economies in the eurozone. Though the initial news of the bailout sent the index higher, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem's comments created quite a stir, even after he later backtracked. Today, the Dow is rebounding thanks to good news from the housing markets and the Commerce Department.
The Case-Shiller home price index rose by 1% in January, which beat analyst estimates of a 0.9% gain. The index is 8.1% higher than a year ago, making the past 12 months' gains the largest since 2006. Durable goods orders grew 5.7% in February as more and more transportation equipment is demanded -- a rebound for that sector of goods, according to the Commerce Department. Analysts had expected a 3.8% increase after the orders had declined by 4.9% in January.
The index is led this morning by Boeing (NYSE:BA), which is up 2.13% so far in trading. The company is celebrating after the successful test flight of its 787 Dreamliner with a newly revised battery system. The test flight was two hours, with all systems checks going according to plan. The success of the first test flight will allow Boeing to complete a second round of tests, during which it will collect data to give to the FAA for review and possible subsequent approval for the Dreamliner fleet to be used in commercial flights. This new development in the 787 saga is a great one for Boeing, which is losing an estimated $50 million per week that the fleet is not in use after all 50 Dreamliners were grounded in January.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) is helping Boeing lead the Dow higher this morning. The personal finance company is up 1.25% as of this writing, thanks in part to its announcement yesterday that it will buy back 150 million of its outstanding shares, in addition to a 15% boost in its quarterly dividend. These plans will lead to a $3.2 billion expenditure on shares over the next three quarters and a $0.23 per-share dividend starting in the second quarter. AmEx is also reaping the rewards of its recent announcement with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) that their joint Bluebird accounts will now be FDIC insured, up to the standard $100,000, and that all government payments (Social Security, tax refunds, etc.) can now be direct-deposited into the accounts. Wal-Mart is only up marginally on the news this morning, gaining 0.04%.
The Bluebird account venture is aimed at customers who are not satisfied with their current banks and/or are unwilling to bank with traditional institutions. Outside the Dow, Green Dot (NYSE:GDOT) is after the same demographic, and enjoying the spoils of unhappy bank customers. Recently upgraded to "outperform" by analysts, Green Dot is on the rise this morning, gaining as much as 7.8% in trading. The company's gains have dropped to 3.75% as of this writing, but its new mobile banking app is sure to give traditional banks a run for their money.