With housing prices rising and durable-goods sales increasing, investors pushed the markets higher today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to gain 111 points, or 0.77%, while the S&P 500 surged higher by 0.78%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.53%.

The catalyst for these moves were probably the 5.7% increase in durable goods in February and the Case-Schiller Index showing that home prices in the nation's top 20 cities rose 8.1% in January.

In also helped the index that a number of its components rose more than 1% today.


A few Dow winners
Shares of Johnson & Johnson rose by 1.47% today, after UBS upgraded the company. Analysts at the Swiss bank increased their target price to $87 per share. UBS clearly believes in the future of this company, and I think most investors would agree that Johnson & Johnson will be around for a long time to come. But as my Fool colleague Rich Smith noted earlier today, the company already trades at 21 times earnings at a time when management expects to grow those earnings by only the mid-single digits over the next few years.  

American Express surged higher by 1.62% today, on the heels of the announcement that the company's Bluebird prepaid cards will now be FDIC-insured. This gives the card a legitimate status for individuals who were previously thinking about using the card but were concerned with the safety of their money. Cardholders can now also have funds directly deposited onto the Bluebird, write checks with it, and use it at ATMs. These new features and the insurance should both help the card gain more users and dramatically increase American Express' transaction fee count.  

Lastly, shares of Boeing rose 2.09% following the company's first 787 Dreamliner test flight with its new lithium battery system. While the news is seen as a positive event, shareholders and management surely would have rather never been in this situation in the first place. The FAA grounded the plane back on Jan. 16. One fire and another emergency landing have kept the plane on the ground while engineers rework the battery system and safety components. Yesterday's flight is a sign that progress is being made and that the FAA will soon allow the plane to begin flying again.

Boeing operates as a major player in a multitrillion-dollar market in which the opportunities and responsibilities are absolutely massive. However, emerging competitors and the company's execution problems have investors wondering whether Boeing will live up to its shareholder responsibilities. In our premium research report on the company, two of The Motley Fool's best minds on industrials have collaborated to provide investors with the key, must-know issues surrounding Boeing. They'll be updating the report as key news hits, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.

The article Dow Surges Thanks to These Stocks originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool recommends American Express and Johnson & Johnson and owns shares of Johnson & Johnson.  Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513.  Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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