Updated from 12:22 p.m. EDT

Yes, It Counts

( At 6:10 p.m. EDT)

So it wasn't much, but it was enough. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 3.91 points to 6930.40 Wednesday, the first time it has put together a two-session win streak in more than a month.

Clearly, it wasn't a repeat of Tuesday's nearly 380-point run-up, but at least we didn't give back 290, so I'll take it and ask you to do the same.

At the end of trading, half of the 30 components were up, and half were down. Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) made the biggest contribution to the uptick, accounting for 12.50 points on the plus side. Exxon Mobil ( XOM) was the biggest drag, deducting 12.90 points from the total.

H-P was joined in climbing by fellow tech stocks Microsoft ( MSFT), IBM ( IBM) and Intel ( INTC).

This was also nice to see -- banks were mostly higher again. Citigroup ( C) was the best percentage gainer on the Dow, up 6.2%. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC) finished ahead of where they started, too. American Express ( AXP), though, couldn't overcome a downgrade to sell, and it fell 2%.

Alcoa ( AA) had the steepest decline, losing 5.9% to $5.76.

You probably know that the Dow has continued falling this year, recording losses in both January and February. For March though, the industrials have trimmed their decrease to 1.9%. That's quite a turnaround in the past two days. At the end of Monday's session, the measure was lower by 7.3% for the month. Year-to-date, it's still down 21%.

We know we're a long way from the glory days, more than 50% below the all-time high set in October 2007. Nothing wrong with small steps for now.


Has the U.S. stock market reached its bottom?

Yes
No

A Little Uncertainty

( At 11:57 a.m. EDT)

Not awful, but nothing convincing, either. The Dow was recently up 29 points at 6956 a day after its massive rally, and at one point, the index got above 7000. Hard to believe that's worth celebrating, but these are the times in which we live.

Winners were outpacing losers 17 to 13 at midsession, with Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) leading the gainers, up 4.4%. Bank of America ( BAC) and Citigroup ( C) remained in the green as the financial sector rose again.

Unfortunately, the banks had been stronger a few hours ago. Both Citi and BofA were posting double-digit increases, so some of the momentum that was extending the rally has vanished.

For instance, General Electric ( GE) wasn't able to hang on to its early rise, pulling back from a high of $9.36 to trade down 2.5% to $8.65. American Express ( AXP), following its downgrade by Goldman, had the steepest percentage decline at the halfway point, falling 5.6%.

If the Dow can stay above the flat line, it will be the first time it's moved up on consecutive days since early February. Whether it in fact can is still far from certain.

Dow Bids to Extend Rally

( At 9:05 a.m. EDT)

At this point, the Dow looks like it actually might be able to have another advance. Of course, trading hasn't started yet, and 4 p.m. EDT is a long way away, but futures are pointing to a higher open Wednesday.

Citigroup ( C), Bank of America ( BAC) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), big percentage gainers one day ago, were all rising in premarket trading. General Electric ( GE) was also climbing.

American Express ( AXP) wasn't as fortunate, falling nearly 6% after Goldman Sachs put a sell rating on its shares. Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), however, was gaining 3% following an upgrade to buy at UBS.

On the whole, appears pretty encouraging for the bull camp in the early going.

More from Opinion

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

50 Stocks That Could Be Shredded If a U.S. Trade War With China Ignites

50 Stocks That Could Be Shredded If a U.S. Trade War With China Ignites

Tuesday Turnaround in Politics: Is a Trade War on the Horizon?

Tuesday Turnaround in Politics: Is a Trade War on the Horizon?

Many Chip Stocks Look Cheap Here, as Long as the Economy Holds Up

Many Chip Stocks Look Cheap Here, as Long as the Economy Holds Up

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense