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The Dow Now: Hewlett-Packard Continues Fall After Meg Whitman's Candid Assessment

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Financial stocks lead the bull run.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Comforted by strong words of support for the euro by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, stocks inched up for the fourth session in a row in mid-Thursday trading.

"I've become even more optimistic in the last week; some of the economic data is getting better, with manufacturing and the whole Fed-ECB stimulus is underlying the entire market -- that gives us some cushion," Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, told MarketWatch.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) was up 0.49% to 13,560.31 points as of 12:01 p.m. EDT.

The leading gainer was Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), up 2.96% to $9.38. It was a strong day overall for financial stocks, with JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) (+2.18% to $41.75), American Express (NYSE:AXP) (+1.64% to $58.34), and Travelers (NYSE:TRV) (+0.59% to $69.42) all up. The bellwether Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLF), which tracks the financial stocks in the S&P 500, also gained 1.26% to $16.03.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) also jumped 2.85% to $9.03. The aluminum giant will kick off the third quarter earnings season next Tuesday when it posts results.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was far and away the biggest loser of the day, down 2.01% to $14.61 as it continued its slide in the wake of CEO Meg Whitman's sobering meeting with financial analysts yesterday afternoon. Whitman said candidly that the PC maker would struggle until at least 2016.

Twitter: @sterlingwong
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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