Dow Watch: Onward and Upward

(At 4:20 p.m. EDT)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average is making a habit of theses late-inning comebacks. If only some baseball teams, including my beloved Red Sox, could mimic the performance.

The Dow hung around the entire day, falling no more than 59 points, before ultimately finishing higher by 15.27 points at 9108.51. It was almost a repeat performance from Friday, when the Dow spent nearly the entire session in the red before eking out a 24-gain at the end of the day.

American Express ( AXP) surpassed Verizon ( VZ) as the biggest drag on the Dow, falling 3.8%. Stifel Nicolaus lowered its full-year estimates for AmEx as the firm said there are few signs of improvement in spending.

On the bright side, Bank of America ( BAC) was the top performer, rising 4.6%. While there was no stock-specific headlines, the bank spiked higher following the better-than-expected new-home sales data at 10 a.m. EDT.


There will be no Dow component earnings releases until Disney ( DIS), Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and Travelers Companies ( TRV) report Thursday, so the blue-chip average will likely get its direction over the next two sessions from economic data, Treasury auctions, and, of course, other companies' earnings reports.

Treasury auctions will have the largest impact on trading. Following three separate auctions on Monday, $27 billion of one-year bills and $42 billion of two-year notes are slated to be auctioned Tuesday. Those auctions will be followed by a five-year note auction Wednesday and a seven-year note auction Thursday.

The fear is that the additional supply -- $205 billion total across the seven auctions -- will weigh heavily on bond prices. On Monday, the 10-year note yield, which is closely tied to interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, rose to 3.72% as the price dropped.

(At 1:25 p.m. EDT)

If the Dow Jones Industrial Average had a theme song Monday, it would be "Hangin' Tough" by the New Kids on the Block.

While NKOTB weren't even remotely good (at least in this writer's opinion), the Dow's performance Monday has been a bit more inspiring. Following Verizon's ( VZ) earnings report this morning, it's surprising the Dow hasn't fallen further into the red. For now, the Dow was only falling 30 points to 9063.

Verizon continued to be the biggest drag on the Dow, falling 2.3%. Losses of 1% or more in shares of Microsoft ( MSFT), Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), Home Depot ( HD), Boeing ( BA) and Merck ( MRK) also pressured the index.

On the other hand, Bank of America ( BAC) helped keep the Dow from falling further. Shares were lately up 4.5% on no particular stock-specific news at all. Alcoa ( AA), General Electric ( GE) and Caterpillar ( CAT) were among the 11 components in positive territory.

What's surprising is that the Dow isn't performing better considering yet more strong housing data. New home sales rose 11% to 384,000 in June, according to this morning's report, coming in above the 352,000 to touch the highest level since November.

There will be plenty of more economic data this week that could act as a positive catalyst for equities, but it seems a little disappointing that the Dow couldn't hold onto the small gains it had shortly after the new home sales data was released.

(At 9:45 a.m. EDT)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average is hovering around the 9100 level. Sarah Palin is making political headlines. It's as though it's November all over again.

And yet, we're now less than a week away from August. Where did summer go, exactly? And where are the summer doldrums we typically see?

There seems to be no stopping the Dow. The index is trading only 2 points lower, falling to 9090, to start the week. Remarkably, the blue-chip average is still near its highest levels since early November.

Bulls will welcome a 2-point loss, considering we've seen two straight winning weeks that have pushed the Dow higher by 11.6%. In fact, the Dow has had its best two-week period both in terms of price and percentage moves since March 2000. It's amazing that profit-taking hasn't pulled the Dow lower yet, although we're only 15 minutes into the trading week. Anything can happen.

Again, this week will be all about earnings. While 12 components of the Dow reported last week, only 5 will be out with quarterly results this week. Verizon ( VZ) kicked things off before Monday's open when it reported second-quarter earnings, excluding items, of 63 cents a share, a penny above the Thomson Reuters average estimate.

Verizon also said revenue climbed 11.3% from a year ago to $26.86 billion, in line with Wall Street's forecast. Verizon said it had 1.1 million net subscriber additions, excluding acquisitions and adjustments.

Craig Moffett, senior analyst with Sanford Bernstein, said that Verizon was like so many other companies that have reported this quarter in that expense control "was exceptional." Still, he argues that Verizon's report shows that economic conditions continue to weigh on every company, not just telecom shops.

"While relatively resilient in the face of the recession, Verizon's second-quarter results are a reminder that no company is immune to the severity of the current downturn," Moffett wrote in a research note.

Verizon shares rose more than 5% last week, helping the Dow climb above the 9000 level, with most of the gains coming after rival AT&T reported quarterly results Thursday. However, Verizon shares were down nearly 1% early Monday.

"Indeed, Verizon's shares rose last week on AT&T's iPhone-heavy results, arguably because investors were already anticipating non-exclusivity (and subsequent market share gains for Verizon)," Moffett wrote.

Later this week, Dow members Disney ( DIS), Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Chevron ( CVX), and Travelers Companies ( TRV) will report results.

--Reported by Robert Holmes in New York.

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

Wednesday Wrap-Up: GE and Facebook

Wednesday Wrap-Up: GE and Facebook

PayPal Strikes Again, Facebook, and AT&T -- 3 Tech Stories You Must Know

PayPal Strikes Again, Facebook, and AT&T -- 3 Tech Stories You Must Know

How to Invest Like Warren Buffett

How to Invest Like Warren Buffett

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