The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped sharply this morning but has been slowly recovering after the Bank of Japan said it would not increase its asset buying above already announced levels. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT the Dow is down 20 points, or 0.%, to 15,220. The S&P 500 is down 0.% to 1,637.

There were three U.S. economic releases today.

Report

Period

Result

Previous

NFIB Small Business Economic Trends

May

94.4

92.1

Job openings

April

3.76 million

3.88 million

Wholesale inventories

April

0.2%

0.3%

The National Federation of Independent Business' small-business optimism index came in at its highest level in more than a year, beating both April's reading and analyst expectations of 93. The biggest contributor to the beat was a 10-percentage-point rise in respondents that expect the economy to improve, though the net percentage is still negative.


Source: NFIB.

Today, though, the market is focused on Japan, where this morning the Bank of Japan reiterated its previously announced guidelines for its asset purchase program. The bank is targeting inflation of 2% and believes its previously announced programs are working, as Japan's economy is picking up and inflation expectations are rising. Investors were hoping for additional asset purchases, and when they weren't announced the Japanese and European markets fell.

Today's Dow leaders
Among the leading Dow stocks for the second day in a row is UnitedHealth , up 0.3%. Yesterday, UnitedHealth led the Dow higher after Susquehanna Group raised its price target on the stock from $72 to $79.  There's a lot to like about UnitedHealth, including its stability and regular increases to its dividend. Its results are primarily tied to the U.S. economy and government actions, so the stock often doesn't move in line with the broader markets.

When President Obama was re-elected, shares of UnitedHealth and other health insurers fell immediately. Is Obamacare a death knell for health insurers, or is the market missing out on some of the opportunities the law presents? In this brand-new premium report on UnitedHealth, The Motley Fool takes a long-term view, honing in on prospects for UnitedHealth in a post-Obamacare world. So don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.

Home Depot leads the Dow upward at the moment, gaining 0.4%. Home Depot stock has been rising as the housing market continues its recovery. Yesterday, at a meeting with analysts, CEO Frank Blake said that the rising housing market continues to help the company and that rising mortgage rates have not bitten into that yet. The broader market is down today, but Home Depot's results are not tied with the world economy. Home Depot gets nearly 90% of its revenue from the U.S. Internationally, the home improvement retailer has just 100 stores in Mexico and 200 in Canada. Last year the company shut down its seven stores in China after they did not meet expectations.

The article The 2 Stocks Pushing the Dow's Recovery Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and UnitedHealth Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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