On countless occasions over the past four years, the stock market has seemed on the verge of sputtering out and heading for a significant correction, only to head higher in a renewed bull-market run. That's what investors are seeing from stocks today as the market shake off fears about an eventual end to central-bank stimulus measures and instead focus on optimism among businesses that strength in the consumer sector could continue to boost the U.S. economy. As of 10:55 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) are up 81 points to what would be a new record close, and the broader market is doing even better on a percentage basis.
Leading the Dow higher was Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which has risen 2.1% to a new two-year high. Favorable comments by hedge-fund investor David Tepper about the stock market and the banking sector in particular have helped bolster the stock. Having made so much progress in building its balance sheet back up to health, B of A faces the same struggles as its banking peers in figuring out the next step forward to further growth, but a faster-paced recovery for the U.S. economy could be exactly what the bank needs to boost its lending and increase profits.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has posted gains of about 1.3% a day after the FDA gave its simeprevir hepatitis-C drug priority review status. The hep-C market has been a hotbed of activity lately, and the FDA move will help J&J to remain an important player in the niche and to potentially get a much faster approval process than would be available otherwise.
Outside the Dow, InterOil (NYSE:IOC) has soared more than 10% after announcing results for its first quarter. The company, which has extensive natural-gas reserves in Papua New Guinea, recorded lower profit for the quarter on a 3.6% rise in revenue. More important than these results, though, is whether InterOil can secure a partner for its planned liquefied-natural-gas project in the island nation. That will be the key to whether InterOil can get its gas to lucrative Asian markets and cash in on its massive opportunity.