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Dow Today: Alcoa (AA) Leads The Day Higher, American Express (AXP) Lags

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) is trading up 40 points (+0.3%) at 13,045 as of Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 22.5 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 818.6 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,042 issues advancing vs. 646 declining with 129 unchanged.

The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Alcoa (NYSE:AA), which is sporting a nine-cent gain (+0.9%) bringing the stock to $10.46. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 0.68 points or roughly accounting for 1.7% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Alcoa currently sits at 574,805 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 30.2 million shares.

Alcoa has a market cap of $10.93 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are up 19.9% year to date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.2%.

Alcoa, Inc. engages in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company operates in four segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Flat-Rolled Products, and Engineered Products and Solutions. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.8, equal to the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alcoa as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and poor profit margins.

Holding back the Dow today is American Express (NYSE:AXP), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 19-cent decline (-0.3%) bringing the stock to $53.57. Volume for American Express currently sits at 260,489 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 6.5 million shares.

American Express has a market cap of $57.18 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are up 14% year to date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.3%.

American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.2, above the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 11.9 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Express as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

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DOW 17,001.22 -38.27 -0.22%
S&P 500 1,988.40 -3.97 -0.20%
NASDAQ 4,538.5510 +6.4470 0.14%

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